I never understood how hopeless distance can make you feel until my precious dog, Chloe, went missing from my parents' home in suburban Dallas this past weekend. I'm 1,500 miles away in New York City, and all I can do is pray she'll be found. While my parents are doing all they can to locate her, my feeling of absolute helplessness is almost overwhelming.
My weekend and my Monday have been filled with that super-stereotypical panicky cry you see in movies, only heightened by the fact that our neighborhood signs and my appeals to the people of Craigslist aren't helping much at all.
Our precious 8-pound, brown Chihuahua-Dachshund mix went missing from my parents' house in Rowlett, Texas sometime between late Friday afternoon and early Saturday afternoon and hasn't been seen since — though a few concerned neighbors have called with stories of seeing a small brown dog scurrying in between houses.
My parents left Chloe out in the backyard overnight while my mom went on a business trip and my father took my little brother away for the weekend. They've done this before, and it's always been fine. Chloe loves to be outside and enjoys the warm weather, and typically treats her overnight stays in the backyard like a vacation from which she comes back refreshed and even springier than normal. But when my mom came home on Saturday afternoon, she was nowhere to be found.
It was like she vanished. There was no sign of a struggle, no holes in the fence marking an obvious point of exit — nothing.
Chloe is an inside joke in my family. When our beloved dog, Bailey, died after a happy 17 year life, my father told my mom she could get whatever dog she wanted "as long as it wasn't a Chihuahua." Two days later, my mother came home with, you guessed it, a baby Chihuahua. My mother defended herself by claiming the dog was half Dachshund - something still contested in family spats - but that did nothing to allay my father's disappointment in our "varmint-sized" canine.
My father rolls his eyes and complains openly — and frequently — about the dog not being a manly representation of the Huseman household, but if you come home unexpectedly you can catch him snuggling with her on the couch or secretly feeding her treats.
Chloe is full of personality and energy — made more obvious by her uncontrollable need to run in circles around the couch when she sees someone she loves. Her constant struggle for superiority over our other — and much bigger — dog, Sam, has been a source of constant entertainment for the past three years. She successfully conquered Sam's bed as part of her territory and forced him to sleep on her small Chihuahua-sized pillow while she spread out on his basset-hound-sized bed every night, and routinely nips his ears and then runs away to hide.
This dog means the world to my family — even my dad. She has been a symbol of family unity even while I moved across the country and my sister went off to college several hours away. Christmas cards bearing Chloe's image were sent for a laugh, and texted pictures of her caught up in one of her many shananigans made sad days instantly better. Her overly-excited greetings during my infrequent trips home were all I needed to instantly feel as though I had never left. This all seemed to vanish instantly the moment I heard she disappeared.
The harsh reality of our situation is that we live right on the property line of a large field that a local rancher uses for his cattle. It is very possible that something could have crept out of the field and taken her — though the idea of that is extremely hard for me to swallow, and we've never had an issue with that before. I'd like to believe that something spooked her, and she found a way to escape our backyard and wondered too far away from home to return. In any case, I can't bare the thought of her being lost, scared and sleeping anywhere but her confiscated bed.
So, people of PolicyMic, I'm asking for your help. Do what I can't do from 1,500 miles away and put boots on the ground in Rowlett and hit share on this article. I am not going to lose hope that my family's best friend can be found, and I'm not going to start believing that she's gone forever until I have proof she isn't coming home.
She's a cheerful dog, but is usually afraid of people she doesn't know. If you offer her a treat, chances are she'll come to you. If she growls, don't be afraid. She is exactly as harmless as her 8-pound appearance makes her look. She was last seen at my parent's house on the corner of Larkin Lane and Hickox in Rowlett — an area most of you, I'm sure, aren't familiar with, but maybe you know someone in the area or you are driving through on your way to somewhere bigger.
If she can't be found, it will at least make me feel better to know that I did all I could to find her — even from this far away. I believe in the power of communities like these, and I know you will do all you can to reunite Chloe with our family.
If you have any information regarding Chloe, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.