D'Argo-Zhaan is the name of my loyal
friend, and canine companion. On Saturday, November 10, 2007, my worse fear came true. D'Argo was in my backyard, going
through his normal routine of relieving himself, after I came home from work. I didn't have his tags on, because
I never left them on in the house. He has such long hair, that the tags would get tangled up in it.
Unknown to me at the time, a Dish Network
installer was on the roof of the house next door, and apparently scared D'Argo bad enough that he ran to the back gate,
and sqeezed himself through. Fifteen minutes had passed before I knew he was gone. As I called him to come
in, I realized my friend had vanished.
There was an immediate search by me and a neighbor. We drove around the neighborhood, called to him, and asked
people on the street if they had seen a big hairy dog running around. Of course, he was seen, but by the time Tom and
I reached the place of a sighting, D'Argo was gone. As with anyone who has lost a beloved pet, I felt an overwhelming
sickness in the pit of my stomach. I literally felt like passing out.
The decision was made to come home and get on the internet to notify HomeAgain.
Thank God he at least had a microchip. Big D (as he is affectionately known) was now missing for 12 hours.
As the event sank into my mind, I began to uncontrollably cry. My only thought was "what do I do now?"
When I called HomeAgain, a nice girl talked me through getting on the Lost Pet Alert system. This would send
out flyers to all shelters and Veterinary clinics in my area. She then advised me to call all Police Departments,
Vet clinics, animal shelters, groomers and to get on lost animal websites.
The next day, I was on the phone and the computer for hours. Tom also
went out to look for my wayward dog. There was an increased urgency to find D'Argo soon, because statistics of
returning pets home gets worse with passing time. Luckily, I'm a Veterinary Technician at an animal clinic,
so I was able to notify clients of Big D's journey through the neighborhood.
Everyday I cried, and asked for faith to take hold, and send my companion
home. Later in the week, I also ran lost ads in two major newspapers in my city. At least three times a week,
me and a couple of friends would visit all of the shelters, including animal control. If anyone thinks that tags or
a microchip is enough to get a pet home, you are sadly mistaken. You MUST physically be there to check these
shelters at least three times a week. They DO NOT care if you get your pet back or not. All they are
concerned with is making room in their cages for other strays to be kept in. Descriptions are NO GOOD !
The people who work at shelters and animal control don't know a Pomeranian from a St. Bernard.
One week passed, and my heart kept sinking.
I lost weight, sleep and a new job at PetsMart. It never crossed my mind to give up hope on this dog. Flyers went
up all over town. At least 200 of them. But no luck. There was a brief sighting of D'Argo by some school
kids on November 18, but no one saw him after that.
Week two came along, and I felt that hope was fading. Still, in the deepest
depths of my soul, I felt like D'Argo was still in the neighborhood. Somehow, there was a feeling inside of me that he never
left the area. But where could this 78 pound shaggy dog have gone? Of course, there was the fear of him being
taken away by someone and never being seen again. That thought almost gave me a nervous breakdown.
Then, I came across a Pet Detective
website. This was Karin Goin's site, so when I read through, some hope came back. A call went out to her.
She responded, and talked about things to do immediately. One of them was to have some 11 inch by 17 inch full
color laminated posters made up, and to place them around major thouroughfaires around town. So I did.
Into the third week of D'Argo being
MIA, I got the posters made up, and began placing them out on light poles. All this time, I felt in my heart and gut
that my dog was still around the area. There was something that I can't explain. At least 25 posters went up on Monday,
November 26. For some unexplainable reason, I stapled a poster in front of a persons house, about a mile away from home.
I did not know who lived there.
Then,a few days later, on top of all that was going on,
I got a call from the city, telling me to take down ALL of the flyers and posters from the utility poles. This was Wednesday,
November 28. Again, I gave a frantic call out to Karin. At the same time, a strange calm came over me. Then,
real anger engulfed me. How dare the city tell me that I can't use flyers and posters to find my beloved companion. When
I talked to an employee about it, he didn't care that my dog was gone. All he cared about, was the fact that all
of the signs around town looked bad and distracting. So, I made the decision to defy them and leave the signs up for another
So, after calming down again, I gathered all of my inner strength, then made peace with myself and D'Argo. After three
weeks of blaming myself for his loss, and the "should have, could have, didn't do, would have done" that goes
along with the guilt, my mind snapped out of it, and I knew there was a mission to be accomplished. NEVER was there a thought
in my head about ever giving up on him, and the hope that there was an animal lover out there that would find him.
All along, I kept telling friends and
co-workers, "he's still here, somewhere. I feel that he hasn't left the neighborhood." Some people believe
in the power of human and animal bonding. There is no real proof that it exists. No one has tested
it to any scientific conclusion. Those who feel a strong, willfull connection to their pet will swear that it is
possible. Of course, my only concern by this time, was to get D'Argo home for Christmas. I would tell everyone I
talked to, that Big D will be home for the holiday.
Three weeks passed by. On Friday November 30, at 9:00 am, there was
a voice mail on my cellphone. It was Richard, a man I had never met. He began to tell me that a big
hairy dog had been coming and going by his backyard fence for a couple of weeks. "I think this might be your
dog." So, I frantically called him back. When we spoke, he described D'Argo, but I wasn't sure if I should
be excited or cautious. Any disappointment would have been devastating. Immediately, I got into my truck and went over
to his house, a mile away .
Richard met me out front, and explained that this dog was "hanging around for a couple of weeks, but he thought it belonged
to someone." Then, he explained that the poster I had placed in front of his house, triggered something in
his mind. "I took the poster and looked at it and the dog and put two and two together, then called you."
We walked to his back fence.
"Where is he?" I asked. Richard pointed to an alleyway between his fence and a neighbors yard. At first, I
couldn't see the dog, then it's head moved. When I began to cry, Richard said, "this is your dog, isn't it?" All
I could do was nod my head and hug him. Then I called for D'Argo. He hesitated for a few seconds, then wagged his
tail and trotted on over to the fence.
Richard and I secured him with a leash, and I put him into the truck. The poor dog
was extremely dirty, smelly, matted and thin. But, I could only think about how happy I was. Of all of the people
in the area, I put a poster right in front of this man's house. Call it fate. Call it a sixth sense. Call
it bonding. Call it a guardian angel. Call it luck. Call it anything you want to. But if not for Karin's
help, and the feelings I have for my dog, this story could have ended tragically.
My heart goes out to all of those who have lost a family friend. I hope this little
story will give encouragement to those people who go through the feelings of despair and guilt of having a pet go missing. Even
if you don't think it can happen to you, please build a bond with your four legged family member. It doesn't cost anything,
but the rewards are priceless.