Krista attacks her keyboard like a drunken sailor though she is neither drunk nor a sailor. She’d already exhausted every face-to-face avenue imaginable, animal control, shelters, even door-to-door. No one had seen her beloved pet Splatters, a Peruvian Inca Orchid breed of dog that went missing yesterday afternoon.
Krista keys in a great variety of search phrases related to lost and found dogs. One result grabs her attention, “GPS Tracking; get texts from your dog.”
“If Splatters could text me,” Krista says to no one in particular, “I wouldn’t be in this mess.”
Krista scrolls through endless lists of results, dozens of websites storing data for lost and found animals. Undaunted, Krista scans all of the results, even the ones with a ‘UK’ extension since it’s always possible, even if only slightly, that her Californian dog found his way to the United Kingdom. Kidnapped perhaps?
Hours burn away as Krista narrows the lists from thousands, to dozens, to few, but there is no sign of Splatters for miles and miles of computer screen. Sure, there are plenty of white dogs smeared in black spots identical to those found on Splatters, but these are Dalmatians, not Peruvian Inca Orchids, and definitely not Splatters.
Krista rakes her fingers through her hair. She’s worn her welcome thin with nearly every available search engine. Is there something she missed? She paces the floor back and forth.
“Aha!” she shouts.
Perhaps someone has posted a photo of her dog, somewhere. She punches in an image search and plows through hundreds of results. So many pictures, and yikes, some of them are decidedly not of dogs, but most of them are; dozens and dozens of adorable photos of dogs, and photos of spots, but none of these images are of Splatters.
“That’s my dog,” says Krista, not believing her eyes.
The source of the image is a site called Granny’s Knitting Blog. Two clicks and Krista finds the photo of Splatters with the accompanying text: “I found this poor dog wandering the streets. Isn’t he the sweetest thing? I’m going to call him Spot.”
“Granny’s got my dog!” screams Krista. She looks for contact information. Nothing. “Fine,” says Krista. “I’ll leave a comment.”
“Dear Granny, you have my dog. Please contact me at KristaMcPhereson@555.net.”
“Your comment is awaiting moderation,” replies the blog.
Krista chews on her fingernails and prays for Granny to check her blog.
Two excruciating hours later Granny posts Krista’s comment and a response, “I’m sorry honey; I don’t send email to strangers from the Internets.”
Krista types madly with her chewed up fingertips, “I’m not a stranger. You have my dog. Can you tell me how I can contact you?”
“Your comment is awaiting moderation.”
Krista refuses to give up and continues interacting with Granny through her blog. Granny refuses to share any personal information online. She also refuses to deliver the dog since her bursitis is acting up and she cannot travel any distance. Eventually, Krista is blocked from posting anything more on Granny’s Knitting Blog.
Krista holds her head in her hands. Her daughter Lori, who had come home from college for the weekend, enters the room.
“He’s got a chip and a tag,” says Krista. “Why doesn’t the old lady just call me?”
Lori rubs her mother’s shoulders and leans toward the computer screen. “Is this Granny’s blog?” she asks.
“Mom, see that picture on the sidebar? I’ve seen that knitted cap before.”
“Where?” asks Krista.
“Across the street. Mrs. Hoffensteiner makes that exact cap, tons of them. Don’t you remember the garage sales?”
“The crazy old lady across the street; are you sure?”
Lori rolls her eyes at her mother. Krista flies out the door and across the street. She knocks rapidly. Minutes crawl by while the sound of barking escalates. Mrs. Hoffensteiner opens the door.
“Oh, hello,” says Mrs. Hoffensteiner, but the sounds of reunited dog and owner drown out her words.
“Splatters, my little Splatters, how I’ve missed you my sweet baby.”
“Oh,” says Mrs. Hoffensteiner. “Is this your dog?”
The dog licks Krista’s face wildly. “Yes, he’s mine.”
“You’re lucky I found him. Did you know he was wandering the streets?”
Krista follows Mrs. Hoffensteiner’s crooked pointing finger, which leads directly to Krista’s front yard.
“Unbelievable,” says Krista to her daughter later that evening.
“Yes,” says Lori. “Unbelievable that you had to use a search engine to find your next door neighbor.”
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