Sunday, September 15, 2013

Maybe this will make me feel better - less paralyzed.

A woman called and told me she thinks Myrtle is in her neighbor's yard. She saw a tiny, skinny black chihuahua run back there and they had seen it there for the past few days. She didn't know if the chihuahua was still there, but she would call me back.

Missing Myrtle has somehow uncovered all the tender parts of my heart. The ones that I successfully cover up all day, all week. Get up, go to work, laugh with my colleagues, go out for dinner, watch a movie – I can do all this because those parts are all wrapped up tight.

But when I miss her, when I remember that she is out there alone... nothing can be wrapped up. My nose runs, tiny hiccups of air from crying, body heavy. There is just me alone, with a wounded heart, bare and vulnerable.

All the times I've ever felt lost, alone, helpless – they seem to rise up and just wash over all of me. Myrtle has found me out.

Remember, being a child, watching Milo and Otis, or being read The Little Lost Puppy – totally immersed in emotion, never knowing if this sadness would end. 

What am I supposed to learn? What am I supposed to do now? When will this end?

Friday, February 1, 2013

An Apology to All Who have Helped Me (I've had an Oprah moment)

Photo by Miss Miniature Rhino. My dear, loving friend!

"Can I have a room that faces the cemetery?" As soon as I said it I realized how weird it sounded. The guy checking in next to me whispered to the woman checking in him, "What a view."

I drew back the blinds and could see a big portion of the cemetery. Tonight's plan could work– I set up a Facebook invite to try to get everyone I knew to stake out the areas she'd be spotted in the past. I would stay in one spot, ready for a sighting and then would run over and coax Myrtle into my arms.

But it was a Friday night and the temperature had dropped dramatically. Long, hard work weeks had taken their toll on my Find Myrtle army and one by one they called, texted, emailed to say they just couldn't make it tonight.

I sat there and felt as sorry for myself as I had ever felt. I felt helpless, alone. I was mad at myself for never getting my driver's license, something I've always wanted to do, but just never made happen. I felt disappointed. I was angry at myself. I was angry at the world for expecting me to go through this alone. And then I was angry at myself for not being the fiercely independent person I always prided myself on.

I retold this moment to my therapist who responded, "So no one helped you this weekend?"

"Some old friends did come out and help me Friday night. They rented a car and took me out for a bit. And on Saturday, in the afternoon, some other people came out to help."

She pointed out the way I had told this story and I felt ashamed. These friends – and some of them nearly strangers – had come out to help and I left them out of the story completely.

I immediately thought of a moment from Saturday. A guy came out to help, someone who does good work and spends his time very thoughtfully. Together we walked in the cold, checking the traps I put out to try to catch Myrtle. He went to a butcher and asked for the best meat for bait and brought it with him.

"I wish I had a brother. So I could make him check these traps with me all the time."

Wanting so badly to have a partner, a brother, a best friend, my mom with me every day, is not a terrible thought. His presence there just made me want some kind of constant, protector like companion in this search. However, he was right there, helping me, and I was oblivious to exactly how fortunate I was in that moment.

Do you know when you learn something about yourself and that moment just feels like it's going to change everything? It feels like there was a door right there in this room the whole time, and you've never opened it.

Oh what a sad, sad, story I was telling myself in this room. The truth, the real truth – when you take away all the layers of my very human, but very selfish inner monologue, is that I am incredibly lucky to have so many people, all different kinds of people, some friends, some complete strangers, helping me. And how incredible is it that so many people who I've met once, or never met, would take time out of their own lives, their own responsibilities, away from their own friends and families, to help me.

We are all trying to find or fix something – whether it's ourselves, our family, a cause – how absolutely generous so many have been to lend me their compassion, their time, their care and support. I see now that, I have the support of a team of big hearted, animal loving, compassionate creatures. A motley crew of gift horses.

I apologize to this crew, my Find Myrtle army, for saying "thank you" but not truly being present to thank you with my whole heart. I didn't fulling understand how lucky I was to not be in this alone. Yes, I'm alone, as many of us are in this big city, but look at all the people I have thinking about me and Myrtle, taking time to help me, donating to the Find Myrtle fund, checking in from all over the world to wish me luck. If I didn't have this, I would not be able to still be out there looking for my girl, I know that with my whole heart now.

And how crazy fortunate is it that there is a cheap hotel with a window that overlooks the cemetery my Myrtle is hiding out in. I'll take the room with the cemetery view, yes please and thank you!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Myrtle Still Roaming + A Tale of Her Activism

Three people spotted Myrtle wandering near Maurice Park before the holidays. One of them saw a Missing Myrtle sign and called me today. I haven't had a single REAL sighting since October! This one seems very real, it's very very close to where Myrtle was last seen, and close to where the tracking dogs were headed on their last trip out to look for her.

If you would like to help, the best thing to do would be to help me plaster the surrounding area with fliers! This is the most important thing we can do – since this sighting was weeks ago, we need to know where she might be now. She is probably still roaming! I have noticed the full color 11x17" posters get much more attention than the smaller ones I am using so I will be printing more of these. If you'd like to print some, feel free

While I'm here, I want to share these photos with you. Someone passed them on to me recently and I had never seen them before! Before I adopted Myrtle, who was bred in a puppymill for at least 7 years, she attended an animal rights protest with Animal Haven. What a tiny, little, hero!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

A dream,

I woke up this morning and moved my feet across the bottom of the bed, waiting to touch that warm curled up chihuahua with my feet. 

"Where is she?" 

A thick world lifts from my bed. I hear the shower running. I'm awake, and she's not here. 

I want to go back. I was dreaming so deep. I saw her inside someone's house, they had the door open. I called her and she came to me. I scooped her up and ran and jumped on a bus. I held her tight and then I heard my name being called. I brought her up to the bus drivers with clipboards that sat at the front of the bus. 

"We've had a call. Miss, is that your dog?"

"Yes! This is her!", I was half excited and half pleading with them to understand. 

"Look, it's her spot!", I outlined it on her chest, and I could feel the light fur under my finger. 

"OH, this is the missing chihuahua," said the woman driver, "I have her flier right here." She flipped through a stack of papers and pulled out a Find Myrtle flier. 

"And, look, she had no teeth here on the bottom." Sleep-Myrtle didn't protest as I ran my finger over her toothless underbite.

"And, if you could just feel here...", I demonstrated by holding her under her arms and lifting her up like Simba in The Lion King. "This is what she feels like." I could feel the shape of her ribcage and the weight of her in my hands. 

They were convinced and they gave me a number to call the next day after I had her microchip checked. I mentally told myself to make that vet appointment as soon as I sat down. She needs to be checked out, too. 

I sat back down with her in my lap. She wasn't excited to be with me, she was just still. I didn't think about that in my dream, but I'm wondering about it now. 

And then, we were home. I was waking up and moved my feet across the bottom of the bed, waiting to touch that warm curled up chihuahua with my feet. 

"Where is she?" 

A thick world lifts from my bed. I hear the shower running. I'm awake, and she's not here. 

Friday, November 9, 2012

Brodie, Nash and Ruckus

Sunday morning, hours before Hurricane Sandy, I met up with Jordina, a field agent and K9 handler from Lost Pet Professionals. She was here to have here team of 3 tracking dogs, Brodie, Nash and Ruckus give us more clues about where Myrtle could be. We met near McGolrick park, where Myrtle slipped free from the hands of her dog sitter.

I brought Myrtle's tiny pink and brown winter vest (which thankfully I have never washed) and felt proud when Jordina told me this sample was perfect! "Sometimes the scent articles people bring me have been washed daily. That's harder for the dogs to pick up. This piece is perfect!" I've never felt so proud and thankful for owning a filthy little dog vest.

Jordina stuffed the little vest in a plastic baggy, "We don't even need a sample of this, we can use the whole thing." (Now owning a little purse dog was also paying off!) and she brought out Brodie, German Wirehaired pointer.

"He's brilliant.", said Jordina. "He can follow the most recent scent, even weeks and weeks after a dog's gone missing."

Read Brodie's Rescue Story
Brodie looked like he knew he was on a mission. Jordina waved the tiny vest quickly under his nose, "Find it!", she said to him. He took off, dog-jogging, down the street Myrtle was said to go down. I ran after them. We continued on over Greenpoint ave, across the bridge to Queens, and down Review St. This was the exact path the last person who saw Myrtle described. Every few blocks Jordina stopped Brodie and asked him, "Are you sure?" He would stop, look annoyed for being questioned, and then continue on his path. Brodie took a right into a lot that exited out onto some railroad tracks. 

"This makes sense!" Jordina yelled back at me. "It's quiet back here!"

Twenty minutes of jogging through the streets and down the tracks and my legs were burning. I peeled off my jacket, and made my out-of-shape self keep up.

Brodie led us to an empty lot full of debris and construction materials – it looked like a place that wasn't visited often. He bounced around an overgrown bush. This is where the scent led us. As we looked around the lot, a man unlocked a gate beside us.

"Have you seen a small black dog around here?", I asked.

"No. I'm just here to feed my cats." He pointed to three empty bowls.

"She's smart.", said Jordina. "That could be her food source. Let's go back and get Nash and see if he picks up the same scent."

On our walk back Jordina told me her story. She lost her dog Andy two years back and knew she wanted to help other people find their pets. I told her I have the exact same feeling! It was nice to be around someone who had gone through this. As we talked, I could still feel her pain and dedication to her lost Corgi. (Please take a second to follow the Bring Andy Home Facebook Page.

Read Nash's Rescue Story
Jordina prepared Nash, a rescued from a shelter in Nashville, hence his name, and looked like a beagle/spaniel mix. He gave me a few kisses when he hopped out of the car. Nash led us to the exact same spot.

"I'm still amazed by these guys.", said Jordina. And I could see why. To watch these dogs follow scents, and lead us to the same corner of this hidden lot, how incredible! I fell in love with Nash right away. I didn't think I could love dogs any more, but these rescues helping me find my Myrtle? I wanted to squeeze them!

We took Nash to a few more spots and he picked up another scent, it lead to the gate surrounding Cavalry Cemetery. Jordina suggested we take the dogs over there after testing out Ruckus.

Jordina then set Ruckus, a young Jack Russell tracking dog-in-training, and, you guessed it, he led us to the same lot.

We took the dogs to Calvary Cemetery and they each were focused on an area there, parallel to the lot. Jordina pondered the locations, "I think she's hanging around here during the day – and perhaps going over to the lot to eat at night. She's is a smart girl."

There were no other leads, so this is where our dog tracking adventure ended. Before Jordina left she must have noticed the worry on my face, "This might not make you feel too much better, but Myrtle can survive this storm. I'm sure of it. There are so many places to hide out here." It did make me feel a little better.

So what now? This day gave me hope and an area to focus on. Spending the day with Jordina and her dogs was also very comforting. Before, I had no clue where Myrtle could be. I should have called Jordina the first week Myrtle went missing.

Now I need to focus on Queens. I've started to flier and have been spending a few hours a day near that lot and in the cemetery. Putting up fliers in such a large area is not easy, so I could really use the help. If you would like to help me this weekend. Please send me an email!

I've also set up a Fundrazr campaign to help me raise enough money to place ads in all the Queens papers. This will cost me $500 for 2 weeks of ads. Here's what the ad looks like:

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

How to Help Animals in Danger Due to Hurricane Sandy

Please consider donating to The Humane Society's Disaster Relief Fund & the ASPCA.

Help animals affected by Hurricane Sandy

Assisting animals and people in danger after Hurricane Sandy. © Jacquelyn Pyun/The HSUS

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

After the Storm

It is definitely possible Myrtle is still out there and had to find a spot to try to stay dry and warm last night. All I could do was think about her and feel guilty for being inside – safe and comfortable. I'm trying to not put my own worse thoughts onto what she might be going through. It, of course, doesn't help, and is probably very wrong. But sometimes you just start spiraling into a dark place and it's hard to find your way back out. 

I find I always feel better when I'm being productive, so I try to put my energy into creative ways to find her and get the word out. Lost Pet Trackers suggested new signs. They made me these big bold signs in color – going to put these up as soon as it's a bit drier out there. 

This is my new foster, Curly Jefferson. He's part of a trio that came up from Alabama. He's a real goof. He has kennel cough, which I find hilarious. Dogs coughing and sneezing = too cute. He seems to be doing well and will be available to adopt very soon! His tiny little feet, big ears, black nose and eyes remind me of Myrtle. 
Hope everyone is safe and warm. My heart goes out to the family of the lost beagle, Arthur. If you are in Manhattan please have a look at this photo and read the description and consider sharing on your social networks.