We were all packed up and ready to move to our new home near Cincinnati (3+ hours away) on the 5th of July when our beloved dog ran away. We had the truck packed the night before and we were ready to get a good night’s rest when my husband took Cappy to the restroom, and he decided to bolt. It may have been the rain, people setting off fireworks and firecrackers, the empty house or, likely, a combination of it all that had him scared and anxious, causing him to run.
After a week of searching, praying and hoping, we found our beloved Cappy. Tragically the outcome is not what we had hoped. We are heartbroken, and at the conclusion of the week-long search, I loaded the kids in a car and drove three hours to Cincinnati to begin settling into our new home.
Throughout our search for Cappy, we worked to stay optimistic that we could bring him home and reunite our family. We drove, walked, knocked on doors, posted fliers, made huge signs, shared on Facebook and posted on websites. We even faxed his photo and flier to shelters and vets offices all over neighboring counties. We received calls and as a result of our search a few other animals may be reunited with their families, and at least one has a new home.
We had heard so many uplifting stories of dogs wandering home a week later, I felt like it had to be close. Yes, that would be us! Then after almost a full week of searching we had two sightings on a road close to ours. I drove and searched early in the day, but no sign of him. I put up more signs and knocked on more doors. The second call came in the afternoon and I rushed out to search again, ready to knock on more doors but the first I came to gave me a knowing look and he said, “I may have bad news for you.” My heart sank into my stomach and I knew.
The man was kind and said that his neighbor, a young man, had been walking home from the local school and had seen a dog hit. As I drove to his house I prayed and begged that it wasn’t our Cappy, but I already knew the answer. I pulled into the drive and showed the young man our flier. The look on his face made my body go hot and then he said he could take me to him. We drove the short distance and parked the car in an opening in the guardrail several yards away. My legs gave out and I simply could not take a step towards him. I couldn’t even see him but I knew.
Cappy had a red collar with two tags – my husband had placed tape around one to keep the tags from clanging as he trotted through the house. The kind young man confirmed his tags for me and told me that he had been gone for much of my search. I couldn’t breathe. I dialed my husband and I could barely speak.
“Did you find him?”
“Is he okay?”
No. I’m so sorry! I’m so sorry! I tried!
I sobbed and my legs were weak. We had done all that we could do. It was not like Cappy to run. In his years with us, he has never attempted such a thing. He’s visited our neighbors on the rare occasion to explore their yard smells (they have a dog too), but that’s it. We have three young children who often forget to latch the gate on our back deck - no matter how many times we remind them - and Cappy never once tried to run.
A dear friend of mine was comforting me as I searched, she said that sometimes things happen in our lives and we need to find out what lesson or message we can receive from it. Our hearts are broken, but Cappy gave me something that is precious and invaluable. He reminded me that my heart can be open in ways that I often underestimate. I had no idea I could hurt so badly or love a pet so much. It really sucks, but I can appreciate the depths of my heart that I now know. I can be thankful for that, and thankful to Cappy for giving that to me.
My husband has lost his best friend, and we have lost a piece of our family. We love him, we miss him and we are so grateful that he came into our lives and expanded our hearts in a way we never knew was possible.
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