It all happened fast. Someone left our front door wide open after unloading groceries—someone who looks like me but shall remain nameless.
My coonhound, Ellie Mae, caught sight of our neighbor’s cat. Before I could grab her, she departed for parts unknown.
She ran away so fast her paws barely touched the ground.
And she was gone.
I searched the woods. I drove side streets with windows rolled down. I knocked on doors. I rattled a tin food bowl and used a high-pitched voice. I whistled. Clapped. Begged. No sign.
When I got home, I sat on my porch. I hoped I’d see a black-and-tan dot, trotting toward me. I waited two hours. Nothing.
The last time a dog escaped my care, things didn’t fare well.
My dog, Joe, dug beneath our fence and bolted for Birmingham. He was gone half the day. I got a phone call. An official voice told me a dog had been found on the side of the highway. Those were the exact words used.
“The side of the highway…”
Someone dropped Joe at a
veterinary hospital. The doctor shaved the back of his body and cut him twelve different ways. I borrowed money to pay for surgery.
I visited the clinic. Joe laid in a steel cage. He looked terrified.
“I’m not gonna candy coat this,” said the doc. “His chances are slim. You might wanna say your goodbyes.”
I held Joe. He rested his head on my lap. I told him it was going to be okay. I told him how much I loved him. I hummed—he always liked it when I hummed.
I asked God for a favor. God must’ve been on lunch break that day.
The next afternoon, Joe went limp. I cried so hard I had to take two days off work.
Anyway, I didn’t cry for Ellie. I would not. I held myself together. I sat in my den,…