Well, it was a crazy weekend. If you followed along on social media you know that on Thursday night things got rough around here when Ellie disappeared from our yard in less than 15 minutes. Up until now the cats have had supervised free range of our yard, but we're super careful not to let them go far. Well, somehow Ellie managed to bolt so far that we couldn't find her despite searching for hours. What I wouldn't give to know what startled her!
(sidenote: Just last week I told Dave that I was truly content and happy with our life. There wasn't anything significant I'd change if I could. As you'll see, that was probably not a smart move. ;) )
The thing that made all this even more tricky was that we had a planned vacation starting the next morning. We were supposed to take off at 4:30am for Maine as a late anniversary trip and to go to a friend's wedding.
We went to bed hoping Ellie would show up during the night. Of course that was the night that we had a severe thunderstorm complete with hail and torrential downpour. To say Dave and I slept that night would be an over statement. Between the two of us we might have had 4 hours of fitful sleep.
We did end up leaving for the airport with aching hearts because we thought for sure Ellie would show up in the morning when Dave's parents stopped by to look around for her. By the time we landed in Boston and heard from them that she hadn't shown up, we realized she was probably lost for real and began to feel like we'd made a terrible mistake. We started posting her picture online so that people could keep an eye out for her and organizing friends to stop by the house and check for her.
I won't go into details, but lets just say our emotional state was not the best. Ellie is our first pet together and is a really special part of our love story, not to mention she's a huge part of what makes our house a home. We really battled against a lot of terrible feelings Thursday through Sunday, the biggest being guilt for having left home in the first place. I don't know if I've ever seen Dave that discouraged in our five years together.
Somehow we got through Friday and Saturday and made it to the wedding Saturday evening. It was so good to be at the wedding and be able to celebrate our dear friend's marriage. That was by far the best part of the trip.
So that night, we were lying in bed complaining that our flight home wasn't until Sunday evening, when Dave started looking at flights that would get us home earlier. He found one that was relatively affordable and would get us home at least 12 hours earlier. We booked the tickets, threw our stuff in our bags, slept for 4 hours and then drove back to Boston through the sunrise. It felt so good to be headed home, where we could DO something to try and find Ellie. Things fell together really well for us, from the car rental place being open at 7am, to catching the bus to the airport and even getting seats together on the flight.
We got home around 1pm and a friend met us at home to help with the search. I got to work making huge "Lost Cat" signs and Dave did a preliminary search of the neighborhood. We even changed into fresh clothes so that they would smell the most like home and leave the scent wherever we went.
After putting up the signs all over the neighborhood and checking at the local humane society, we started going door to door all up and down our road with flyers. When someone who usually hates talking on the phone and meeting strangers gets over their introversion and does all that, you know things are extreme. It felt so good to do something, but every false lead made our hearts sink. It was hard to keep our spirits up.
By six, we were so exhausted and discouraged. Thankfully we had friends who had come over to make us dinner. I don't know what we would have done if they hadn't been there with a hot meal and hugs. We hadn't had a real meal since Saturday morning and things looked better after refueling. We were going to head out and do a thorough search of the whole area that evening, thinking Ellie would probably be moving when it was cooler and darker.
As I got up from our table and looked out our screen door, who did I see but Ellie! She slunk onto the front porch and sniffed the things we'd left out there to help guide her back. She almost looked like a different cat, she was so skinny and skittish. But I knew it was her right away. I was so scared she'd run away again as I unlocked the door and hurried outside to grab her.
Once she was inside we realized how tired, thirsty and hungry she was. It had been almost 3 days exactly to when she ran off and we don't think she found much to eat, drink or rest during that time. She looked unsteady on her feet and emptied her food and water bowls multiple times that night. We on the other hand smothered her with kisses and hugs.
To say we were happy would be an understatement. We just couldn't believe the ordeal was over. And to think that if we hadn't taken that earlier flight, we wouldn't have been around when she showed up! It made it all worth it!
We've been on cloud nine ever since. It may be hard to understand if you've never had a pet go missing, but it's a special sort of torture to know your fur baby is out there and you can't help it. She could probably get away with murder right now and we'd just let her. The one thing we won't be allowing anytime soon is outdoor time.