When A Pet Goes Missing


This is my “grandkitty” Gaston, my daughter Theresa’s “son.”  He’s missing.

I’ve met him only once.  He doesn’t even live with me, and yet I feel a hollow place in my heart, a little Gaston-shaped area of worry.

This is an experience that every pet owner fears.  In its way, it’s worse than a pet death, because there’s no resolution.  One is haunted by questions.  You know the ones I mean — the “what if” questions.  Despite our hopes, we imagine the worst — What if he’s cold/hurt/hungry/trapped?  We refuse to entertain the dreaded “D” word, but the shadow of it lurks overhead.

Pets transform our lives.  They give to us in so many ways — companionship, affection, education.  If we’re lucky, we manage to give back equally well.  When they’re gone from us — for whatever reason, even if it’s “only” an over-night visit to the vet — our homes echo oddly…and so do our souls.

Gaston (aka Fatty McFatterton) is a personable fellow and, as you can see, devilishly handsome, a virtual Errol Flynn of pussycats.  It’s possible that someone has found him and has taken him in, but will they want to return him?  I’d like to think so, but people do odd things.

(As example, a local bookstore — The Book Barn — has a plethora of cats on the premises.  Owner Randy told me that there’s been several occasions when they’ve apprehended customers trying to leave with a cat under their coat.  For some reason, they “assume” these cats are homeless when, in fact, they all belong to Randy’s family.  But, because these people “want” a particular cat, they believe it’s okay to just take it.  Like I said, people do odd things.)

I’ve suggested that Theresa post signs offering a reward for Gaston’s return.  I’ve offered to come to Massachusetts to help her look for him.  Until I hear either way from her, I will say a prayer or 60 for the lovable lout and hope for the best.  Please take a moment to do the same.

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About Melissa Crandall

Longer ago than I care to admit--although I will--I cut my writing teeth on fanzines and media tie-in novels. Since then, I've moved on to narrative nonfiction, speculative fiction, and essays. I write to explore and understand the world around me, the things I see and experience nearby or from a distance. If I shake myself up, cool. If I shake you up, even better. Not gratuitously--what's the point in that?--but to set what I know, or think I know, on end and realize, "Well, doesn't it look different from this side!" My work is neither sexually explicit nor graphically violent. Let's face it - your imaginations will come up with things far worse than anything I could write, no matter how descriptive. Besides, it's just not my thing. I live in Connecticut with my supportive husband Ed, a cat named Ruby who might just think she's a dog, and an epileptic Australian shepherd named Holly who isn't quite certain anymore who she is, except she knows she loves her mommy.
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