When author Kate Spicer's rescue dog, Wolfy, went missing, she became an obsessed woman. Every hour was spent pounding the streets, gathering celebrity support on social media, and tracking everyone Sighting. But would her dogged determination pay off?
When author Kate Spicer's rescue dog, Wolfy, went missing, she became an obsessed woman
My mouth is open but there is no sound. Every cell in my body screams. When I get into the car, I imagine that we have brought Wolfy with us and that his small sleeping figure has curled up in the old pink and white woolen blanket. When I start the engine, I start to cry, big open jaws, drooling, saliva screams. This is the most terrible thing that has ever happened to me. I lean over the steering wheel and shout both verbally and telepathically: “Wolfy, please be fine. Wolfy, I'm coming. "
We drive to my brother Will in the dark of North London and I am affected by the massive city. The feeling of hope to leave my body is so strong, so visceral, it is dizzying. There are a billion hidden places and eight million people whose interest in the dog will either be nonexistent, possibly desirable, or even murderous. The ingenuity returns. That is hell.
"How did he get out?"
"Bay [Will's daughter] opened the door. I told the kids not to open the door." His voice changes from strictly compassionate to defensive. "She's only three, she loved Halloween."
As we talk about herds of children disguised as ghosts and witches, they go through tricks or treats. Will has met several people in the past two hours who have seen Wolfy since he left the main street he locked – we patch his movements together, take separate streets, and then the road gets cold. I imagine Wolfy running from home to an area I don't know. I crouch on the side of the road, crying and panicking, and my friend Charlie can't find any words of comfort.
Back home, the air suffocates without a tail whipping it, without 16 claws ticking back and forth across the floorboards. The way he increased energy and brought love, humor and fur into every room was huge. His absence is there, the empty space on the wall in the hall where he watches us cooking, the move-in at his favorite spot on the sofa.
My tweet – "I lost my lovely dog" – is retweeted by Jeremy Clarkson, Ricky Gervais, Amanda Holden …
There are things you have to do if you lose a dog. Partly for your own health, partly because it's really helpful. The first is to make an eye-catching poster. I also attach a photo of Wolfy to a tweet. "I lost my lovely dog. Last seen towards Finsbury Park. Please Twitter and God, if you are there, help me find it."
The next morning at 9 a.m., this tweet was retweeted by Jeremy Clarkson and a thousand other times. Wolfy has also made it to the Doglost.co.uk website, a charity that encourages volunteers to increase local interest in finding lost dogs and cats. I continue my search, knock on Will's front door as I do so often, and hear the unpredictable footsteps of a small person approaching. I do my usual thing and look through the mailbox and shout: "Aunt Kate!" When I go inside, Bay looks up at me but says nothing. At any other time, she would have run to the door and been there to hug, kiss, hear silly voices, and be turned upside down.
Kate with Wolfy today. Kate remembers the panic of losing Wolfy: "I walk the streets, call Wolfy's name, put posters in mailboxes and ask people if they saw my dog. People are nice." No, I'm sorry, but good luck "
"Bay," I stretched my arms out and reluctantly let me hold them. "I'm not angry with Wolfy. Aunt Kate loves you and it's not your fault. "She nods and pulls back her eyes down. I caused that, I think. Will is happy, but the dynamics are unfamiliar and tense. I have to find Wolfy. If I don't, how will anything between us ever be normal again be?
I walk the streets, call Wolfy's name, put posters in mailboxes and ask people if they saw my dog. The people are nice. "No, I'm sorry, but good luck."
Each retweet spawns more people telling me that I am a terrible dog owner, that they hope that I will find him, that they will hang up posters and look for him, or with news of sightings. Kay Burley, Ricky Gervais, Amanda Holden – the celebrity retweets are piling up, but Jeremy's fans are the easiest to spot. They copy Jeremy to see Wolfy in a kebab. You are so desperate to impress him. I create a Find Wolfy Facebook page and pay to improve the first post. It will soon have hundreds of followers. My neck is bent over the screen at all times of the day when I don't look for him on the sidewalks of Finsbury Park. Every now and then I hear the squeaky floorboard on the door to my study. This is Wolfy – I hope he comes to his nest under my desk. I prepare my toes for the fidget under his smooth pink belly – take a deep breath and pull the tears back inside. I let my dog's spirit leave the room.
Charlie calls on the way home after delivering flyers and hanging up more posters. His voice is tired. His warm body is soothing in bed and I lean over his back.
"I can't stop thinking about him, it's so painful," I say whimpering.
& # 39; I know. However, we cannot make it. How was it on the travelers website? Were they help? “I was told that travelers love Lurcher and may know something.
Someone called my friend Charlie to say they had Wolfy. Is it a scam?
"Uniquely unsatisfactory, but I will still try out some of the locations in North London."
I lie on my back and listen to the cloudless silence. Do not Cry. Two hours later, I'm sitting upright, crying and choking on my breath, and now that I'm awake, the tears are turning into an out of control roar.
"Hold on, Kate."
I didn't expect Charlie to be so cold. I get up and put on my grandmother's old ragged Chinese bathrobe, snot is still running down my face, goes to the dog nest under my desk and climbs in, covering myself with his blankets where I cry until I'm exhausted. I pull out my laptop, check Twitter, Instagram, Facebook. Check, check, check. Calm down, calm down, calm down. Do not numb anything but an empty sadness.
Every day we spend a lot of time discussing different theories about Wolfy's whereabouts. I will forward it on Twitter. Charlie deals with more tangible authorities and rescue centers. In between we both work. Sometimes I cry; he doesn't do it. Without sightings later than Sunday, the day after his escape, we continue to drift into the realms of the hypothetical. Or, in my case, the metaphysical when I consult a clairvoyant who says he is with a man with a bad leg. I'm running out of money and I've raised the reward. “It costs us a lot. I find that you have another parking ticket, "says Charlie
"Can we give his life a price?"
"Look, Kate, I feel just as bad as you, but I can't help but think that it is pointless to keep looking. He is alive or dead and we may never find out which one to chase all the time kind of insane. We won't turn around a corner one day and see him waiting for us with his wobbly tail. He's gone. He can show up well but he can't. "
His tone is not indifferent, he is defeated, pragmatic and as close to tears as Charlie's. The thing is, I don't disagree with him. In solid, grounded moments, I know that hunting across London is irrational. "But doing nothing is an impossible question and there are people there …", I say, leaning my head towards the laptop. I've opened it on Twitter and I'm writing my latest post on Charlie's plans to review Parkland Walk. "… who spend their free time looking for a dog they don't even know, who doesn't think we're doing enough."
Kate about the feeling of hopelessness that she felt: "There are a billion hidden places and eight million people whose interest in the dog will either be nonexistent, possibly desirable or even murderous."
"This is not about them, we don't even know them." It's about you, me and Wolfy. We exhaust ourselves when we walk around London. He is an animal, Kate, not a child. They live and die according to different laws. We have to expect that it has finally disappeared. "
& # 39; I want him back. Every minute he is not home, I want to be out there looking for him. "
So I keep walking, walking the streets alone every day, chasing sightings sent to me on social media, handing out Lost Dog posters and stopping passersby. I recruit people for the cause like a chugger or a politician. Charlie writes to me: "Dog seen again in Hampstead Heath" and inserts an emoji that rolls its eyeballs. When I call him, he's already walking across the heath and talking to me with this mix of excitement and cynicism that only someone looking for a dog will understand.
Nine days after Wolfy has disappeared, I fill the streets around Will's house with scents that could draw him back to me, and tie our stinky socks to a stick that I pull behind me. He's around here. I know it. Charlie calls at 10.30 a.m. Someone called him to say they have the dog. "It's probably a scam, but I'm on my way there now." Do you want to come and discuss it with me? “He gives me the address, a garage, no more than a mile from my current location. My heart beats so funny that I feel almost sick. The air is suddenly sharp and clean. I drop the cane, socks, and Evian bottle full of pee [which Kate used to smell].
The garage is in a series of railroad arches and it is not clear where to go. There are Porsches everywhere, packed in a small space like cattle in a truck. We go to the back of the first arch to a reception with two suitable women sitting on a phone. I stand with my hands in my pockets and turn a small bone-shaped biscuit in my pocket. "You have our dog here. A man called us. "
"You are here to see a man about a dog," says the oldest of the two, cynical about our intentions. "No dogs here, you have the wrong place." It is a settlement. I can not stand. I should have known after all the jokes and false alarms.
"There are things you have to do if you lose a dog. Partly for your own health, partly because it's really helpful. The first is to make an eye-catching poster. & # 39;
Then a man emerges from a door leading to the next arch. "Yes, come with me, I think so." Charlie and I follow. I keep turning the biscuit in my pocket.
We go into a garage and turn left. In the corner sits a grubby, polite, polite, shaggy lurcher with an electric flex tied around his worn brown collar. It's wolfy.
The dog limps and Charlie and I both fall on our knees. Wolfy digs deep into my body and makes tiny beeping squeaks. I fold around him, my forehead on his skull. It smells deep and terrible. What time is it? I cannot feel how it moves. I can only feel relief and love. I go back on my heels and Wolfy goes to Charlie, his whole emaciated body moves in a wave of physical joy. After a few minutes, Wolfy walks over to one of the boys in overalls and leans very firmly against his leg.
"Did you find him?" I ask.
"Yes," he caresses the sides of the dog's ears.
"He says thank you to you." I want to bark, shout and cry with happiness.
Another mechanic says, "Don't think we have to check that they are the owners." I have never seen such a happy dog. "
Wolfy isn't strong enough to jump into the car, so Charlie puts his arms under his hind legs and lifts him up. I climb in with him and he breaks down and uses my thigh as a pillow. I pull the biscuit out of my pocket. His mouth hugs my hand like he did a thousand times before, only this time the crunch is careful. He devastated his mouth and tried to chew through the steel fence of the railroad track where the mechanic found him.
When we drive back to West London, I call everyone to tell them the news. And while we're waiting at the vet, I take a photo and share it on every corner of the social media that we turned to for help. "Wolfy has been found." The tons of answers are overwhelming.
At home, Charlie and I open a bottle of champagne after a shower to wash off the dirt from Wolfy's adventures. There is no more suitable time to drink it.
This is an edited excerpt from Kate Spicer's Lost Dog, to be released on April 4 by Ebury Press. The price is £ 16.99. To order a copy for £ 13.59 by April 7th, go to mailshop.co.uk/books or call 0844 571 0640; p & p is free of charge for orders over £ 15