Well, this is exactly where I didn't want to be at the end of the week, but let's end with Hopeful Color. Whatever that means.
Today was quite astonishing.
After 4 1/2 hours of sleep I got up at 5:50 and headed out to fan through the alleys. Wife had north of 42, I had south. Daughter took the Parkway on her bike.
Like a video game: this path is closed. Courtesy of last night's storm.
So you can imagine how all the signs scattered around South Minneapolis fared.
Elsewhere in an alley: something waiting for the barefooted trashman sitting on top of a dinosaur:
At one point I thought I saw something dark and low move behind a trash can; when I pulled forward, I saw bags of food open and torn apart. Noted the location. After an hour of driving (listened to one Richard Diamond, Private Detective show on the satellite radio, then the BBC talking about a terrorist attack on a cafe) I went home, made a big breakfast for self and daughter, then went back to the trash-can spot with a bowl of kibble. Then set out across town to repairing the signs. One was gone. Half were trashed, but I could staple them back to good use. At the furthest point - by the dog park where he ran away, and where we don’t think he is anymore, although he could be, who knows - I felt about as low and futile as I’ve felt all week and I have felt low and futile all week.
And then someone sends a story about a dog being found after a week in January, and then another story about a dog found after two weeks, and then a story about a dog found after 36 days, and you think: there is no end to this.
Now I have to interview Scott Adams and Bill Bennett and then go to work and write a column. Dead on my feet. Will nap long and hard after 3.
Oh: story this morning on the news about a dog RUNNING ON 94 AND SHUTTING DOWN TRAFFIC FFS with crappy video footage. They said it was a boxer. The announcer was all jokey - look at him, he’s having the time of his life. NO HE’S NOT HE’S FARGIN’ TERRIFIED. Was it a boxer? I’m getting tweets about it. I call a friend who’s head of comms for the State of MN, and he gives me a contact at MnDept of Trans to see if there’s any better footage. Dog was last seen heading into downtown.
Got some hi-res pictures out of MnDot. Nope.
Gutpunch. Got a call from a guy who’d seen the signs, said they had a black hound at a local grooming salon, on 54th. I live off 50th. Called the salon. Asked for a picture. Standing in line at the restaurant to get a slice of pizza, waiting, waiting, waiting for phone in pocket to buzz.
It buzzes. Take out phone. Not Scout.
So the dog that was seen yesterday in the neighborhood was probably that dog. Not Scout. Which means we know nothing.
Belay that. Checked the address of the grooming salon; it’s on the other side of the town, by the dog park; dog had only been lost an hour. So suddenly it’s 180 from previous emotion.
Now there’s hope again. Four minutes ago there was no hope. Now hope!
Isn’t this just capital fun.
I went to work, then went home and tried to nap, because I was woozy from exhaustion. Couldn’t sleep. I would fall asleep and Scout would bolt through my head and I would wake up -
Hold on, that’s the phone. Hello?
“Yes, you lost a dog?” A young boy’s voice.
“Is there a reward?”
“Fifty dollars.” I just said that because I thought it would be a lot to a young boy and I wasn’t awake. This was a dream.
“Fifty. No, sure, sixty.”
“Okay . . . “
“Thank you.” He hung up. I laid back and closed my eyes.
Picked up the phone, redialed. Asked:
“Did you see the dog?”
“Yeah - uh, he’s here right now”
“Uh - the park.”
“Uh - Pearl Park.”
“Stay there. Don’t chase him.”
“I have to go my battery is almost dead”
I am out the door in 30 seconds, into the car, which has all the stuff for contact - leash, meat, bowl, unwashed shirt with my scent. I take the tread off my tire getting to the park. Two cars pull over to let me pass. I get there -
- and there's a group of ten, twelve people standing on the hillside, all facing the street. No one is talking to everyone else. They are all looking down. It is the creepiest thing I’ve seen all week.
Jogger-guy walks past; I ask if he saw a loose dog.
“No,” says Mr. Perfect Random Stranger. “And I’ve just been all around this park, around the edge.”
Okay thanks. It hits me: the kid was lying. The kid made it up. I call him back. Voice mail. Leave a message. Drive around the neighborhood. Stop and text the kid to tell him to call me when he charges his phone so we can discuss the reward. Drive back to the park -
Ah. There’s a school bus. All those people were waiting for the bus. Kid's camp. I remember picking up Daugther from here. Years, years ago.
Anyway: the little bastard saw a sign, and for some reason improvised a lie. A few hours later I called him from a different number.
“Let me speak to your parent,” I said.
“You have the wrong number” he says.
“No, I don’t. Let me speak to a parent or I will give this number to the authorities.”
“You have the wrong number, sir.”
Ah. He just slipped into wheedling butter-wouldn’t-melt mode.
“No, I don’t. You’re the kid who called me about the reward. I need to know if you were telling the truth, because we don’t want to waste time looking for our dog there. It is a bad thing to lie about seeing the dog, and you hurt people who are sad about their dog.”
“I didn’t lie, sir.”
You just did.
“Did you see the dog,” I ask.
“Yes - two - two days ago.”
“You said you saw him today.”
“No I didn’t I swear sir”
“Yes, you did. Let me speak to your parents or I will report this number.”
“I swear sir they’re not home sir but I will have them call you when they get home.”
You may be surprised to learn that they did not.
Because the fun never ends, I got a visit from Scout’s case worker with The Retrievers. Get this: 15 preprinted BIG yellow signs, just add picture and phone number. I will head out tomorrow and replace the old sodden destroyed signs we labored on for hours with these. The old ones would have been good if the storm hadn’t hit last night. She also dropped off clear tape and some extra stuff for making more signs.
I wrote her a check, which seems the least I can do. I mean, it’s just extraordinary, what they do. We stood on the porch and talked for a while. Dog stories, plans, hopes. Fears. Reassurances. How dogs behave when they’re on the loose, how they have patterns, circle back to places at particular times. How some take time to acclimate back to their home, how some snap right back to the old ways. (Scout, I think, would be the latter.)
While we talked I lit a small cigar, and the case worker said “good. If he’s close, he’ll smell it.”
It’s not that bad.
So that was the week.
I wrote a few things in advance for this week, and removed them all for this merry tale. Next week, I’ll run those things with all the usual below-the-fold updates, because it helps to get things back to normal and not dwell on it. After I replace all the signs tomorrow it will be a matter of waiting, and while I fully expect that next week will suck whale wang, I’m not going to let this take over everything.
I have to go to the grocery store. I have to clean house. I have to finish the gazebo. I have to sleep.
Thank you for bearing with me this week. Fingers still crossed. Still hopeful - except when I’m absolutely not. But then I am, again.
You will understand if I just shut this thing down occasionally and run emergency archive hiatus-type material. There will always be something here, so keep coming back. And hope Scout does the same.
No update below. Too bloody tired to bother. See you Monday.