We had some friends over one spring day and one of them got a phone call. When he hung up and returned to the conversation, he looked upset. When I asked what had happened, he said that one of their friends had lost her dog and no matter what she did she could not locate him. I offered to speak with the dog if it would help.
The next day I got a phone call from Lori, the woman with the lost dog and she sounded so distraught on the phone. She told me that she had trackers out looking for her dog, along with hundreds of people from the community putting flyers out and on the lookout. She said that it had been several weeks and still nothing. I asked her for a picture of Josie looking into the camera and told her that I would speak with him and call her back.
When I introduced myself and asked Josie if I could speak with him, he sounded angry. I asked him what happened and why was he lost. He told me that he wasn’t lost, that he had run away. He said that he had been so stupid for trusting a human, that he knew better, and that he will never trust another human again. He showed me that he was left at what looked like a pound, said that he had given his heart to this woman, and that he would rather die in the wilderness than open his heart to her again. I thanked him for speaking with me and told him that I would let his mom know how angry and betrayed he felt. He told me that he no longer had a mom.
I called Lori and told her how Josie felt and what he had said. I asked her what had really happened thinking it unlikely that she had brought Josie to the animal shelter. She explained that she had adopted him years ago from the animal shelter. He was very scared, and it took a very long time to get him to trust her, but he finally did and the two of them were very much in love and inseparable. But recently Lori’s mother had fallen ill. She needed to see her mother and could not take Josie on the plane with her.
Lori knew that if she had a friend stay at the house with Josie, one mistake or one door left open and he would run away. She needed a secure and safe solution for forty-eight hours. She took him to visit a boarding facility to see what his reaction would be. Giving him a chance to bond with the staff and see the accommodations, she watched through a glass window in the door as the facility staff took him inside. Josie didn’t know she was still there watching and figured that he had been betrayed and abandoned. He escaped their grasp, jumped over a retaining wall, and was gone. I told Lori that Josie had misunderstood her intentions and that I was going to explain it to him and see if he will tell me where he was.
When I communicated with Josie for the second time, he still sounded angry, but he did listen to the explanation. I told him that it was all a misunderstanding, that his mom was absolutely destroyed without him, and she needs him to come home. I asked him where he was and he showed me that he was sitting on a groomed walking trail with a stretch of woods behind him, and a big manicured grass hill in front of him that lead all the way to the ocean. He then told me that he wasn’t lost but was deliberately staying away. He did not need to be found but was trying to decide if he could forgive her for hurting him. He then told me that he might be willing to go home but had some conditions. He said that she should come alone, at dusk. She should bring something yummy to eat because he was very hungry. That she should kneel down on the ground, close her eyes, and apologize for hurting him. If he feels that the apology was sincere, when she opens her eyes, he would be standing in front of her. He instructed that she should hold out the food and he would eat it, but she should not try to grab him or put a leash on him. She was to wait until he was done eating, and then stand up and lead the way to the car and he would follow. She should then open the back seat and he would jump in and go home with her. Josie explained that he needed her to see that it was his choice to forgive her and follow her into the car. He warned that if Lori didn’t follow his every instruction, she would never see him again.
I relayed the conversation to Lori and described where Josie was. She was very excited that the description matched the place where he was last spotted. She was elated and told me that she was going to go to him that very evening. I anxiously awaited her phone call that night, hoping and praying that she had him safe and sound at home with her. But when she called me, her voice was shaky with tears, frustration and sadness. I asked what happened and she explained that her and her friend went at dusk to this place but could not find him. I gently reminded her that Josie said to come alone. She said that she was nervous to go alone at dusk to this hiking spot. She also said that it had been such a long time, she had spent thousands of dollars on flyers, trackers, and trainers, and she was exhausted. I urged Lori to try again the next day and to follow Josie’s every instruction. She said that she would but if this didn’t work, she was going to give up.
The next day I talked to Josie for the third time and he was furious that Lori had come with a friend. I apologized and explained that she didn’t want to be alone in the dark. He warned me that she had only one more chance to win him back and if she didn’t listen or wasn’t sincere in her apology, she would never see him again. I begged Josie for one more chance and reminded Lori of each instruction and implored her to follow them to the letter.
Later that night I got an elated, triumphant, excited call from Josie’s mom letting me know that she had him back home safe and sound and that it happened exactly like I said it would. She hiked to the top of the walking path, kneeled down, apologized with tears streaming down her face, and opened her eyes to find him standing in front of her. She extended the treats she had brought and held still while he ate them, then calmly stood up, walked to the car, opened the back seat, let him jump inside, and drove him home. She promised to never leave him anywhere again and to prove her love, loyalty and dedication to him.
Josie forgave his mom completely and was the love of her life, for the rest of her life.