Thursday, June 29, 2006


In Which We Learn the Fate of One Good Dog...

My dear friends, my closest strangers, I need you to understand that this is not like my usual cliffhangers. When I write long pieces about stupid things that happen to me, I generally know what happens before I sit down to write about it.

Let me be clear, so there's no hard feelings or misunderstanding: This story is not like those stories. I've been lagging by a day in my account of Blaze's disappearance, but hopefully this post will put you in real time with me, at least for a few paragraphs. I am making every effort to tell you what I know, as soon as I know it.

Which means, much as I'd like to admit otherwise, that Blaze is still gone. It's going on four days now and I've seen neither hide nor hair of him. If I knew the ending to this story, I would clue you in now. But I don't. Each dot of ellipsis that I leave at the end of these entries is a bullet in my heart. I share your anxiety, your frustration, your feelings of suspense. These are not narrative contrivances to keep you coming back. This is my life.

Yesterday, Wednesday, I called in sick for the day and spent it focused entirely on Blaze. I called the police and filed a report. I called every animal shelter in the area, including the hospital that restored Blaze's health after he was abandoned by his original owners. I talked to every single one of my neighbors whose homes abut my lot, who are all good and decent people, and who all adore Blaze, especially after that time he saved us all from the divebombing blackbird. Joe, the Corgi owner was the last one I spoke to. As he told HLS, he had not seen Blaze. When he came home from work, he went straight in to get his Corgi and walk him. Blaze was already gone by then, otherwise he would have barked his head off at the Corgi. Joe loves Blaze and offered to help in any way he could, but in all likelihood, whoever walked off with Blaze did so just before Joe got home.

And if someone did walk off with Blaze, he/she couldn't have picked a better avenue of escape. From Indiana Avenue to my yard there is a strip of grass that separates Joe's house from our next-door neighbors, lovely but quiet people who I will call the Recluses. The Recluses have a six-foot high wooden fence. Directly opposite this fence, across the strip of grass, is the west wall of Joe's house. It's actually a garage wall, and is windowless. Someone could have easily parked a car on the street, dashed straight up that strip of grass, enter our back yard by the far corner, unlock Blaze and run back to the car with no one noticing. I scanned the grass from my yard all the way to the curb, but could find nothing, not so much as a cigarette stub or even a boot or paw print, but it still seemed the mostly likely avenue of approach.

I called or visited every neighbor on Indiana Ave. Some I know; some I know just enough to nod hello; most I don't know at all. None of them had seen a strange car parked on the street, nor had they seen anyone walking between yards. Which, the more I thought about it, was not a surprise. Near as I can tell, Blaze disappeared around 6:30, a time when many folks are sitting down to dinner, not looking out their windows for dog-nappers.

Later, I sat down on the front porch, drinking my 5th cup of coffee and making a list of known enemies and possible theories--as well as holes in the theories--to explain Blaze's disappearance.

--May have had some connection to the disappearance of Buddy, my neighbor's dog who is still missing. But why? And was the perv in the black Volkswagen involved (check with police to see if he's in jail, out on bail or what)?

--Crazy Mrs. Belfry--with whom my family had a run-in this past winter and who hates my dog-- might have gone clean round the bend and nabbed him. She certainly has a history of trespassing on my property and would have a motive for getting rid of my dog.

--Jerk Who Lets his Mean Dog Run Free--We have never officially met--only exchanged words once--and he's never so much as walked past my house (that I know of), and his Mean Dog and Blaze have been implacable enemies for close to three years now. But why get rid of Blaze now?

--Some kid did it. Blaze is beloved by the children of the neighborhood; many have wished aloud that he was their dog. Would one of them have taken him on impulse? Unlikely, since they live in the neighborhood and I'd be bound to see my own dog. Unless...was it someone whose family was moving (three houses in our block have sold this year and the families were all moving out this summer)? Note: Check with Homeowner's Association to see who left recently. They would have a complete directory of everyone in every house and a forwarding address for sending a prorated refund of their association fees.

--The dick who was driving too fast that one night and tried to get out of his car and jump me when I told him to slow down? He'd likely have attempted to kick my ass if Blaze hadn't chased him back in the car. But that was ages ago. Why now?

--Something more nefarious. Petty criminals stealing pets. Why? Ransom? Too outlandish. To resell? Was Blaze some rare breed of dog (or mistaken for a rare breed of dog) that someone thought they could sell? The vet always said he was a mutt--her best guess was part beagle, part Rottweiler, which would explain his hound-dog tendencies but also his temperament towards the kids (unless they are conditioned as attack dogs, Rottweilers are naturally inclined to be both gentle around--and fiercely protective of family members).

--Why didn't he bark? He never barks at kids, rarely at women, always at men. Except for men he knows. Or maybe he did bark and no one paid attention. He's been barking a lot out back, what with all the rabbits running loose.

--??? Something I'm missing?

I was staring at what I'd written, trying to see if anything fit together in something resembling sense when I heard the patter of several little feet. From across Baltic Avenue here in Monopolis, several kids, including Bee and Kay and their older brother--the kids who lost their dog Buddy several weeks ago--were dashing to me.

"Thomas told us Blaze got kidnapped!" one girl said breathlessly.

"Dognapped," an older girl corrected.

"It's true," I said. And then I gave them my most serious look and asked if there was any chance they or someone they knew might have snuck back there and let Blaze loose, just as a joke. They shook their heads in unison and I was inclined to believe them.

"Hey!" one of the older boys piped up. "Me and the guys will take our bikes and ride around asking people."

"Do you have reward posters yet?" one of the girls asked.

"Almost," I said. In fact, Thomas was inside just then, printing the last of them.

"Because we can put them up on poles and signs and stuff," she said. "We really like Blaze."

"And we don't want him to disappear like Buddy," Bee said glumly.

Just then, Kay and Bee's mother--let's call her Alice--came over to get the story of Blaze's disappearance. She seemed pale and upset by the news, and I sensed she had more to say, but not in front of the kids. I got Thomas to finish the missing-dog posters and a dozen kids--my Baltic Avenue Irregulars--dashed off in every direction with a pile of them.

"Wonder if it will help," I mused.

There was a silence. Then Alice said, quietly, "He's dead, you know."

I felt my cheeks and forehead get hot and prickly. "What?" I stammered.

Realizing what she'd said, Alice patted my shoulder. "Not Blaze. I pray God you find him. No, I meant...Buddy." This last she said in a whisper.

My mouth dropped when she said this. "When? How? Don't the kids know?" I babbled.

Alice's eyes got red and she wiped tears out of them as soon as they emerged. "It was a week ago. They found him at the landfill on the other side of the city. He--" she stopped and cried for a minute. "He was all torn to pieces. They only identified him because we had one of those chips put in him. Aw, God!" And now she sobbed in earnest.

"I'm so sorry," I said, trying to hide my genuine sorrow and horror. "Was he hit by a truck? Attacked by a bear? What--?"

Alice pulled a tissue out of her sleeve, honked her nose, regained some composure. "No. He was killed in a dogfight."

I stared at her, unable to respond.

"One of those illegal dogfights," she continued. "You know, with the pitbulls? Well, to get them ready to fight, the bastards who own the attack dogs usually get them worked up by letting them attack a bait animal, like a cat or another dog." She started sobbing again. "Buddy was such a good dog. A gentle dog. He would have been totally defenseless. The other dog just ripped him apart." She finished the rest in a series of gasps. "The police found the body. They say it's a big problem around here now. Almost every state has dogfights."

Then Alice must have seen how pale I looked and she touched my shoulder. "I'm sorry. I had to tell someone. I don't know what to tell the kids. I don't want them to think he ran away and they'll never know what happened. But how can I tell them this?"

I shook my head. I had no idea. In fact, I had nothing like a coherent thought whatsoever at that moment. All I had in my head was pure, cold terror, coupled by the vision of my dog being staked in the middle of some kind of makeshift colosseum, waiting for some trained killer to come rip his throat out.

"Do you have the names of the police who found Buddy's body?" I asked...


Oh my, that's awful about Buddy. I can only imagine what is going through your mind, MM.

I sincerely hope you find Blaze and that he's okay. I know I would be just as heartbroken.
I cannot even imagine...

Everyone here at our house is praying that Blazey will be found - healthy and whole - soon.

Sadly, the people who "got" Buddy have "friends" all over the country who do the same thing; it is a problem in many, many parts of the country.

There is a special place in Hell for people who do that kind of thing to innocent animals.

(((hugs))) to everyone at Magazine Manor.
Ah Christ, MM, I'm sorry for being such a jerk with my comments.

All prayers are going out for Blazey (BHBBBD) tonight.
I'm so sorry. No one should have to go through this, not for an instance.

Does Blaze have a chip?

I wish I was there, I'd head to the downtown bars and start asking bartenders about gambling and dogfights. Someone's got to know something, and how many of these could there be?

Maintain positive thoughts. You can solve this. Blaze will come back to you.
Oh, God, MM! I hope what happened to Buddy will not be Blaze's fate. He's too good of a dog to deserve that. I'll be thinking of all of you and hoping for his swift return.
I am so so sorry. Please know there is a little family in Finland - including a rather dumb French Bulldog - who are sending all of the Blazey Get Home Vibes we possibly can.
MM, I really hope you solve this mystery and Blaze returns home safely. I can't really see him going off with some strange man he didn't know without a struggle. Good luck and I will be praying for his safe return.
oh crap.

When you last posted, I got the sense that you were also hanging on the cliff with us, and that there was no Blaze home yet. I am horrified that I was right.

Have you called your buddy, the soon to be retiring officer? I am sure you have. Hey, maybe that friend who can look up stuff at the DMV can help you find out where these dog fights might happen.

My heart is in my throat. If anyone can find him, you can. Prayers and luck are being sent your way, and to the Blaze.
Dog and I are praying for Blaze's safe return. I feel really sick inside thinking about this whole situation, so I can just imagine how you and the family feel. I'm sorry Blaze is missing, really sorry.
Hey MM adicts,

So, what can we do? Ya, I feel pretty hopeless, and am pacing the floors of my house waiting for my kids to wake up. So, I can't seem to think of anything other than Blazey (and MM, and the Brownie).

Can we do anything?
Sadly, MM, I know how you are feeling. Here in the dirty South, there are fabulous dog breeders, but there are, unfortunately, just as many people who will dognap registered dogs so they can breed them and sell 'unregistered' pups. That's what happened to our two Chocolate Labs. What was even worse, was they were litter mates, and even though Bailey, the male, was still able to stud out, we had Patience, his sister spayed. That's something the nappers couldn't tell until they got them somewhere to look at them. My boys were heart broken. I am praying for your family, and the safe return of Blaze, the wonderful dog.
Sadly, that was my first thought when I started reading this post. Oh MM family, I sincerely hope that Blaze is returned, soon and in good health. All my thoughts and prayers to a happy ending. And Blaze, stay safe buddy.

I too wonder if there's anything we can do. I don't know where MM lives (even what state), but I bet it is far from me, otherwise I'd drive over there and help him beat the bushes for snakes.

I had this idea that MM should google the blog search for his hometown and dog fights, and also google myspace. I would bet that some older kid isn't reserved enough to keep it a secret if he'd been.

One last thing, and not to be a Casandra, but maybe somebody took Blaze just to disable the dog alarm, so they could come back and rob the place. I'd pester the stuffing out of the police, and I'd knock on every door in the neighborhood. Sometimes Chicken Little is right.
That makes me feel sick inside. I'm so worried for Blaze ... and so sad for Buddy and his family. My thoughts are with all of you. Is there a humane society in your area that could offer a reward for tips leading to the arrest of dog fighters? I'd make a donation. That is just evil.
I'm so sorry, I'm totally balling for a dog I've never even met before.

Blaze is in my prayers and thoughts, I KNOW you will find him! I KNOW he will come home.

Anything I can do, don't hesitate to ask!
Like Talushki, I can't seem to stop crying for Blaze [and Buddy too]. Please let us know if there's anything we can do; I'd also like to help if I can.
Holy Jesus. I'm so sorry both about Blaze and my prior comments that were made under the assumption that this was a closed deal and you were just luring us in.

This is insane and I hope that Blaze is found before anything terrible like what you are describing can happen.
Oh my god...I don't even know what to say. Just sending prayers and thoughts your way...we're all rooting for Blaze's safe return.

PS..I have a My Space account if we need to do some scouting...
My God, mm, how horrible. I hope that Blaze walks back into your yard any minute.
Evil, evil, evil bastards who would do something like that to a family pet like Buddy. I, too, am open to a donation to any organization that is helping to track down and stop such sickness.
While my dog was still alive I always had the lingering fear in the back of my mind that someday, somebody would want to steal him or do him harm. Nothing ever happened, maybe partially because we were all very protective of him, but hearing so much about incidents involving other people's pets I have to believe luck played a role too.

I feel terrible that Buddy wasn't found safe and returned. Even though he's a dog I've never met belonging to family that are, aside from your stories, complete strangers to me, I still feel sick over what has happened to them. I'm hoping with all my being that nothing even remotely close to that bad has befallen Blaze -- that he'll be back, maybe a little dirty and hungry but none the worse for wear.

Yours and Sharfa's families are both receiving all my best wishes and I hope things work out all over.
I am truly sorry to hear about this. I've lost my dog in the last year, got her back, and I know the terror and the helplessness that goes along with it.

But I have to ask - you left Blazey outside all day? If something is valuable to you, whatever it is, you lock it securely inside your house. I can't fathom leaving a dog, a child, or anything I treasure outside, unsupervised, for anyone to take.

I truly hope you recover Blazey. Perhaps a pet tracker can help?
Sadly, this is what I thought, too, when I first started reading this post. I used to volunteer for a dog rescue organization & we've received rescue dogs just prior to them ending up like Buddy. It's disgusting. Have you contacted dog rescue places in your area? They may have some ideas or information on how you might be able to track down Blaze.
I am so sorry. We all adore Blaze and our prayers are with you. I hope to God you find him safe. Whoever commented that people who run dog fights will find a special place for them in hell was right on the money. It is such a sick, demented thing to do but sadly, it happens all too often. No one really hears about it (at least not here) until a slew of dogs goes missing. That happened about a year back and the newspaper did a series on it. It revealed the twisted, cruel, evil underground world of dog fighting and yes, most dogs were kidnapped. Dogs that looked like good fighters were the obvious targets. I truly hope this did not happen to Blaze. I will send prayers your way and if your readers can help you in any way, let us know.
NO, anything but that!

I really hope that you and you sweet children don't have to deal with that.

One thing that all of us could do is try to lobby for strong punishment for animal neglect, abuse or endangerment. In BC, Canada the laws are pitiful and people who inflict pain on animals barely get a slap on the wrist if any punishment at all.

Aside from that all we can do is send our hopes and wishes for a much better out come than that.

You might consider, if you have the strenght, warning your neighbours so that they might protect their pets.

Take care,
MM, I'm so sorry about all this - I'm just sick to my stomach. I hope everything turns out okay with Blaze and I'm so saddened to hear about Buddy. Saddened and angered - what kind of person does something like that?

Thinking of you all.
Thimbelle took the words right out of my mouth. A special place indeed...

MM, our hopes are with you! I pray that Blaze is safely returned to the family who adores him so much.
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
If this isn't a job for the former boy detective, i don't know what is. I'm holding out hope for Blaze. It can't end this way for him. It just can't.
I'm so sorry, MM :( I'm sending my good thoughts out for Blaze.

And here's a hug for you and the family:

*big hug*
Its a cruel world we live in today.
Dogfights. Stupid people.

Blaze is in my prayers. You are all in my prayers.
I know how special Blaze is to you all... I couldn't imagine loosing our Murph dog... ahh man MM... I am sending positive thoughts your familys way for a safe return of Blaze...
Having lost our Gus-kitty last year, my heart goes out to you and all of your family.
We never got any closure on what happened to Gus....but since he was 14, half blind, and declawed we can only assume that he went to join Justin (dog) in heaven.

I hope you find out what happened to Blazey...Hell I really hope that he has come home and is licking your face as you read this.
oh gawd, mm, i'm so sorry! this is beyond awful! i hope there's a happy ending to this.

as for poor buddy, i've often believed that animal abuse should be a capital offense... but i usually like critters better than people.

wishing on every star i can find that blaze makes it home okay...
i am praying for your family and blaze.
just adding more prayers from north of the border

find him MM, do your thing
I am hoping and praying that Blaze will be found soon, safe and sound.
This is terrible.

I hope the famous Magazine Man mojo and great forces of luck combine to bring Blaze home safe and sound.

And to the anonymous person who chastised MM for leaving Blaze outside...not the time, person. It is not the time.

I'm picturing the MM family as a powerful magnet and Blaze as a Dog of Steel. Come together, right now!
Time to point out some obvious things: Mag Man, we love you. That love is real, and that love is well earned. You fill our lives with love and laughter, you remind us of the joy in life. So don't lose faith. Hang in there, and know that we are hanging in there with you, side by side, shoulder to shoulder.
I'm so shocked and near tears! I'm praying for Blaze too! :(
No, no,no,no! One thing I cannot tolerate is animal cruelty. Those SOB's should all be castrated before they are killed. They are nothing but pure evil. No place in the world for losers like that.

I hope you find Blaze soon! Alive and well!
What Stu said.

He always speaks for me, and does a much better job than I could ever do.

Shoulder to shoulder MM. Indeed.
I've been way behind on my blog reading and I just caught up in the news of blazey. I'm so very sorry to hear he is missing. I hope he was not taken by those evil dogfighters. I will keep you and your family and blazey in my prayers. I hope the conclusion of this saga is a happy one.
Do your thing indeed, MM. If anyone can solve this mystery, it's you. I'm sending you all the positive vibes I can, all the way from Africa. Unfortunately, I can imagine somewhat of how you're all feeling: last year, when I was living in a small village in the rainforest in Cameroon, our cat disappeared two days after giving birth. She had a history of being gone for a day or so at a time, but we thought it very odd that she would do that just after popping out kittens. The neighbour kids were on the case, however, and quickly found out that some assholes from a neighbouring, smaller village had captured our cat and killed (and eaten) her, all in service to some "black magic" ritual that was supposed to give them the advantage in an upcoming political election. Sigh. Anyway, my heart goes out to you and your family. I so hope you find Blaze.
Oh dear. Oh dear.

I honestly don't know what I would do if I was in this situation. You, your family and Blaze will be in my thoughts every second until resolution is delivered. And I'll be sending positive vibes that the resolution is happy...

That just made me tear up. If karma exists -- and I think it does -- Blaze is okay somewhere, just lost. And not only okay, but eating wonderful biscuits and watching doggie movies. All the best -- I hope he gets home safely, soon.
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?