It was a long, hot Labor Day weekend. The signs had been posted all over town. On telephone poles and trees located nearest the roadways, the message was the same. It was a plea for help. “Missing: Shih Tzu dog: Needs medication. Last seen on King Arthur Drive. If found…” and the contact information. The photo was of a black and white dog with an energetic, happy face.
Amy signed after she finished stapling up the last poster. Geiser, the missing dog, had become her beloved pet just several weeks ago. Back then, the dog was happily engaged in another person’ life, and that was with her elderly neighbor. But he recently took ill and became despondent in having to give up his companion of many years. Amy came to the rescue and assured him not to worry. “I love Geiser just as much as you do, Mr. Edelbrock.”
He smiled at her admission from his hospital bed and sighed, “Yes you do, Amy,” he added with a knowing comfort, “Yes, you do.”
Amy remembered the heartfelt conversation they shared about Geiser. When she left her neighbor, he was in much better spirits.
Their visit happened only several days ago and now Geiser was missing. She had let him out first thing in the morning as usual, but it was the last time she saw him. Amy went everywhere looking for him. Driving back home, she was upset thinking of the poor little dog, and how lost and upset he must be. She was afraid for him knowing how his frail little body struggled after the last seizure. She turned into the driveway and shut the car off. As she reached the door to the house, a young woman walking down the street, called to her.
“Amy!” she said and quickly came up the walkway. Amy turned and smiled in recognition. “Hey, Marie!” she said in surprise. “What brings you by?”
Marie paused and then blurted out, “I saw Geiser!”
“What!? You saw him? Tell me where?” Amy was elated and gave Marie a hug.
“Wait, Amy,” she began and pulled away from the embrace. “There’s more.” With hesitation, Marie waited a moment, not wanting to tell her the troubling news she had about the dog.
“I found Geiser about an hour ago near my house or should I say he found me and was about to bring him to you. He came right up to me, Amy. He was the cutest thing, and I knew he was scared.” Marie became upset and added, “But she said she knew the owner and was in the area for a few days.”
Amy told her to hold that thought and ushered her friend into the house and the kitchen. Hanging up her purse, she asked, “Okay, Marie. Who is this woman claiming to know me? Did you recognize her?” Amy stood with her hands to her hips, determined to unfold the mystery of her dog’s disappearance. “And so, where is Geiser?”
“I don’t know! I had no idea who that woman was!” Marie continued and was still upset. “Amy, I had him right in my arms. But I gave him to her. She was so adamant about it, almost demanding. I told her about you and where you lived.” Sadly, she added, “She didn’t come by, did she?”
Amy shook her head, “No one came by.”
The two friends talked about the bizarre circumstances that surrounded the now missing Geiser. What was this woman’s motive was the question they could not answer?
Marie mentioned a clue, “She was driving a red mustang convertible. That surely would be noticed.” Marie offered to keep in touch with the local dog officer, the police department, and the area canine rescue organizations. Amy thanked her for her generosity and added, “Don’t blame yourself, Marie. You were totally caught off guard. What a complete phony this woman was.” She grabbed her car keys and spoke. “Well, I have to go and make one more stop. Let’s stay in touch. Okay?”
Marie agreed and headed back to her place. Amy got in her car and drove the short distance to the dog park. She had built many friendships at this place. They were shocked and concerned when she told them the news. They eagerly agreed to help by alerting her, if they saw or heard anything suspicious. Geiser was to be featured in the local newspaper. Nothing so far had helped solve the mystery.
The day was getting long as the hours wore on. She worried about her dog in the heat. Amy hoped that whoever took him was at least kind. He was just a little guy but one that had a lot of spunk. She loves Geiser and regretted tomorrow, knowing that she would have to tell Mr. Edelbrock the sad news.
Morning came and with a heavy heart, Amy got herself ready for work. She looked down at the empty food dish on the colorful mat in the kitchen. It was waiting to be filled. “I failed him,” she admonished herself, thinking of Geiser, but could not forget Mr. Edelbrock and changed the statement. “I failed them.”
Amy got in her car and proceeded down the road. As she drove past her neighbor’s house, she turned to look at the empty structure. Suddenly, something caught her eye. Braking quickly, she pulled over and jumped out of the car. It was her dog!
“Geiser!” She was so happy and excited at this moment and called to him. He started to run to her but stopped. She tried to coax him to her, but he turned and ran back the way he came. He stopped again and turned to look at her, wagging his tail all the while.
“What is it, little guy?” she said with a puzzled look. The more she tried to convince him to come to her the more he kept up this odd start and stop behavior. She finally realized he wanted her to follow him.
“Okay. You’ve got me convinced.” She could have run and picked him up but didn’t want to frighten him. To make him feel comfortable, Amy became excited and coaxed him to go and waved directing him away from her. Up and over the stonewall and across the yard they went, and he finally took her around behind the shed.
And there she spied the red mustang convertible.
Amy hesitated at first not knowing what to expect. Why was the car behind Mr. Edelbrock’s house? Geiser began barking and dancing in circles. Now, he was approachable, and came right up to her. She was lost in the moment as little tongue licks covered her face. “I missed you, too!” She was so happy to have her dog safe in her arms. “Okay! Okay! Can I put you down now and you won’t run away this time?” Immediately, he ran around to the back of the house.
“Geiser!” Amy shouted and followed him. She stopped when she saw the open door. Cautiously she followed Geiser as he boldly went in. A woman lay on the floor not moving. Amy slowly approached, went over and touched her on the shoulder. “Are you okay?” There was no answer. How long had she been there? Her face was damp with perspiration. Quickly she felt for a pulse and was relieved the woman was alive. Amy had her cellphone with her, dialed 911 and waited while making the woman as comfortable as she could. Geiser was happily in the way, wagging his tail. He looked to Amy, and she could tell he was proud of himself for bringing her to this woman who was in need of help.
At the hospital the mystery was finally solved. The woman was Mr. Edelbrock’s daughter. Amy was aware that he had a daughter, but he never spoke much about his family. She had been living overseas and that was all Amy knew. Apparently, after her mother’s death, the father’s grief was too much for the daughter to handle and she left. Now with her father unable to care for himself, she returned to help. She saw her father’s dog away from its home as she drove into town. The daughter was the mystery woman that insisted on taking Geiser, unaware of his new home with Amy. It was ironic that this woman also had health concerns and suffered seizures.
But it was a little dog that understood and sensed danger. He knew what was going on and attempted to find help. It was fortunate that Amy happened to be in the right place at the right time.
Back home with Amy, Geiser was treated to a King’s dinner. He lapped up every drop of his special fancy feast snorting his approval all the while. Looking at him enjoy his meal, Amy was relieved to know that everyone was safe and well. Her little dog proved to all that the most unlikely hero came in the body of a twelve-pound dog.