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Sunday, June 29, 2014

Thelma's Doggone Adventure

   Thelma ran for all she could muster. The humid air, thick in her lungs. She darted in and out of traffic, frantically searching. She had seen her mom leave but now could not find her anywhere! The loud noises were frightening. The pavement steaming hot. The hands reaching for her made her skitter away. Now she didn't know which way to turn and didn't trust any of these strangers! Thelma had to run faster and harder to keep them from catching her. Day turned to night and back to day. Each minute was fraught with anxiety and danger. Wide-eyed and crazed with fear, Thelma told herself to keep running. With a suddenness she couldn't comprehend, the ground began to vibrate and music filled the air. It was loud and incomprehensible to her small ears. On the side street there was a little less traffic, but still she ran.
 The sun faded away into another hot, sticky Southern night. Thelma wondered when this horror would end. Would she ever see her family again? Would she ever get to go home? 
  By the third day desperation was clinging to her like a rough and prickly blanket. It was too hot and she wasn't used to this humidity. Thelma was nearly choked by the fear. She ran on, darting through the speeding cars, managing to avoid them, but just barely. She didn't dare stop now!
The fourth day dawned and Thelma knew she had to get help. She wasn't going to last much longer. Thelma struggled with whom to trust. Everywhere she looked was huge and teeming with activity. Some didn't even look her way. Some looked but didn't recognize her fear and anguish. After many miles of running, hiding and avoiding, exhaustion was enveloping Thelma, threatening to slip her away from her Earthly bonds. 
Determined, she pushed aside the fear and distrust. She had to get help from these strangers. Thelma crept in the door of the grocery store, the cooler air rushing into her face. she laid down in the corner, not realizing she wasn't supposed to be in this place. She was too tired to move when the stranger came towards her.
Checking her ID, the stranger realized she was very, very far from home and did the only thing they could. The police dispatcher answered the phone and immediately recognized that the description and info being relayed was from the missing report before her. An officer was dispatched right away. Thelma couldn't fight any longer. She had to trust that somehow everything would be okay.
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 A family sat down to dinner out after the exhausting and disappointing days behind them. The unspoken fears hanging between them. So many tragic possibilities could be the reality. Suddenly, a cell phone was ringing,  Facebook messages being sent. As the call was answered, tears began to flow, alarm filling the hearts of those at the table. Hands clasped as wide inquiring eyes stared at each other. In a moment, the world changed. Three of the four family members jumped up and ran towards the door. This nightmare, for better or worse, was coming to an end. 
At the police station, the door opened, eyes were searching... and as suddenly as it had began, it was over. Thelma was reunited with her family!


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Meet Thelma:

My Aunt and Uncle came to visit us all the way from Washington state and a few days after their arrival, Thelma their 10 year old, 7 pound Yorkie escaped from Mom's fenced yard in an effort to follow my Aunt, who had left with my mom. She was gone for four days and we were fearful that she wouldn't be found before they needed to head home. Mom called the animal shelter, area veterinarians and the police. We posted to several local Facebook groups trying trying to reach as many people as possible. It was very scary because it also happened to be the weekend that the Rock the South concert was taking place so there was lots of extra traffic and lots of out of area visitors. We began getting messages from people that had seen Thelma, some even trying to catch her to prevent her from getting hurt. None of them could catch her and by the time my Mom and Aunt would get to the area of the latest sighting, Thelma would already be gone again. For such a little dog, she traveled several miles over the four day period! On that final day, she finally walked into the local Aldi's grocery store and collapsed in exhaustion. Someone was able to get a look at her tags and recognized the info from our many online postings and pleas. They called the police. The police had Thelma's description and the information to contact us so they sent an officer right over to get Thelma. The call to mom's cell phone came my parents, aunt and uncle had sat down to dinner at a local restaurant. 

They jumped up to rush over to the police department a few blocks over from where they were. Thelma managed to escape the ordeal with only one wound... where her harness had rubbed her skin, some dehydration and exhaustion. I am SO happy that the story has a happy ending with Thelma being reunited and going home with not only my Aunt and Uncle, but her daughter. 

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