Lost Dog

Lost Dog


The Facebook post was short and sweet. We were desperate. I also shared a Tweet. When friends asked us to make the social media posts public… we didn’t hesitate.


ALERT!

My wife, Emily, and I were playing with Lola at 4:00 PM last night. Our neighbors lit some fireworks in the street in front of the house. She got scared and hopped the fence in our back yard.

We have not seen her since!

Lola is a beautiful one-year-old German Shepherd with traditional Red-Black coloring. She is our baby and a big girl, about 60-70 pounds, but very well trained and approachable! If anyone has seen her, we are offering a $500 reward to folks with information that leads to her return!


I know. The reward was a bit much. Even the post itself sounded overly dramatic to my brother. But, hey. Dogs become a part of your family. We rescued our girl from a horrible barn-stall in deplorable conditions. She was malnourished and riddled with worms. Nursing her back to health was a challenge. But she was a champion through the whole thing. The running joke that Lola was the daughter I never had was not so much a joke anymore.

The first day and night was nauseating. Several good Samaritans reached out and offered to help in the search through town. We stayed together until two A.M. but had no luck. It was awful trying to sleep. I looked at the bed every hour and expected to find a dog warming up my feet.

The following morning was a little more fruitful. My brother-in-law is a technology guru, and he offered to share pictures of our pup on several new apps. Around late afternoon, he got a hit and forwarded me the informant’s information.


LostAndFoundLAF: I found your dog in the city square. Here is the picture of him.

Me: Oh my God, really! That is amazing. It is actually a she. This looks like the picture we sent out. Can you take a picture of her now?

LostAndFoundLAF: My camera does not work. I have your dog. I dressed her up in a blue dress to keep her warm. Maybe she will like my pink one better.

That response, along with the username, was strange enough to make me suspicious. I hesitated to reply, and LAF took the opportunity to talk a little more.

LostAndFoundLAF: The amount is not enough. I want $1,000.

Again, I know. But we were desperate.

Me: Why is she wearing a dress? We will see what we can do. Is there anyway you can prove you have her?

LostAndFoundLAF: Yes, I will bring her to your address. 114 Middle Drive. Midnight. By the mailbox. I’ll be the leopard, you’ll see.

Who the fuck asks to meet in the middle of the night? Why is he a leopard?

I just wanted my pup.

Me: Can you do it any earlier?

LostAndFoundLAF: No. I have work.

Okay was all I said.


The hours crept on endlessly. Emily cried in the bedroom throughout most of the night. It broke my heart. This mystery weirdo was our last good shot. We had already wasted time on him.

I felt like an idiot. At 11:55, we got a text from LostAndFound and went to wait outside.

Be there in five.

Okay, I replied.

I want a pair of you wife’s panties, too.

Before I could tell the guy to fuck off, we saw the white blur of headlights drift down our remote street. A white paneled van stopped silently in front of the mailbox. As the door opened slowly, I told Emily to hide in the shed.

The man who stepped out was disheveled. Garbage fell from the door of his car as he stumbled forward in a mess. His face was covered by a black mask. Before I could offer up another word, he coughed out a choked sentence marred by what sounded like years of Marlboro Lights.

Do you have the money?” he asked.

Do you have my dog? Why the fuck are you wearing a mask? Why are you texting me weird things?” I was shouting. He was not going to come to my house and intimidate me. If this was a prank, it was a sick one, and somebody needed to put this idiot in his place.

Matt…” my wife shouted from a distance.

Stay inside!” I screamed.

The next few seconds were so swift my mind never had time to catch up.

The man hit me with a cheap shot. He brought a bat or something with him. As soon as I fell to the floor, I saw stars and smelled the stinking stale alcohol on his breathe as he rifled through my pockets.

C’mon… where’s the fuckin’ money, you bitch?” he whispered. “You think I won’t kill you and your fucking whore wife over $1,000 dollars? Nobody lives out here. Nobody saw my face. Maybe I’ll just step inside when I’m done. You know,.. to see if there’s anything else in there for me to play with.

I spit in his face.

The man hit me again, harder. At a certain point, the pain was immeasurable and beyond comprehension. But, I could still hear things. I could hear my wife screaming and crying. I could hear the sound of my bones breaking in parts of my face and ribs that I never knew existed.

And then, I heard barks.

The owner of that voice was angry. It snarled and growled as it launched itself forward. Something large sprinted to my side and skidded to a stop beside me. I know it was real because the man started to scream. The rips of flesh and breaking of bones were no longer my own.

Warm, comforting arms lifted up my arms under my shoulders.

Guard, Lola,” my wife said. But it all felt like a dream.

I lost consciousness soon after.

Emily got us inside, where she locked the door and waited for the police to arrive. The masked man tried to get up and run to his car a few times. Lola made sure he didn’t. She ripped off an ear in the struggle, and mauled both legs. He was easily arrested by officers, a few minutes later, on assault charges.

His crimes and prior convictions ranged from harassment to sexual assault, dating back to 1979.

Lola was never missing. She was locked in the shed the whole damn time.