Neighbors Rally to Find Missing Fishers Dog
We had just returned from a Sunday cheer showcase in Bloomington, at 5:30 pm, on a cold January evening. The dark of night was near and when we opened the door to the house, our worried son informed us that our 13-year-old Lhasa/Schnauzer mix, Hoosier, had been missing since 2:00 pm. “What! You didn’t bother to look for him or even text us?” I sneered at him. We adorned our warmest winter coats and boots to begin the search on the cove ice, where he was last seen. After scouring the neighborhoods around the cove and talking to a few people who had seen him, we came up short one dog.
The temperature was dipping frightfully below freezing and we had to come in to warm up. It was time to get the community involved. Texts were sent and postings on Nextdoor and other pet finding sites were made … not by my family, but by the first few people with the news of his disappearance. Immediately, individuals wanted to help. Friends, yes. Acquaintances, yes, Complete strangers, yes. People living nearby or several miles away, yes. It seemed that everyone wanted to get involved in finding this old, confused mutt.
We investigated a lead of a little dog walking along 79th Street, many miles from our house, because we couldn’t ignore any leads, at this point. Nothing was found. We finally had to call off the search for the night, hoping Hoosier would survive the cold and show at our front door in the morning, like he had done one other time.
The morning arrived, but Hoosier didn’t. Again, we began the search and again, more people decided to help. Some contacted me to ask what they could do, others just did it and MANY more prayed. They searched by cars or by foot to find that little slippery mongrel. More postings were made and shared, more shelters, vets and dog-finding sites were alerted and most of this was done by someone other than me. I was beginning to understand something that only slightly related to my dog: our neighbors are AMAZING!!
One foretelling coyote-sighting later and another lengthy search by three cars around the neighborhoods near Hague Rd. (because of another little white dog detection in that area) and still we went to bed, Monday night, with only one of our dogs home. Tears welled up in my eyes, every time I thought of all the kind, selfless people … friends and strangers alike … that God had placed on this mission to find Hoosier.
Day three, Wednesday, began with my decision to hang a few posters, but otherwise go about my daily business. I was becoming more and more certain that that coyote sighting was a sign of Hoosier’s fate. The theory was devastating to my four kids … especially the two that were away at college and felt helpless. But, again, the messages and possible sightings came in and, again, strangers, friends and acquaintances alike were making it their mission (or challenge) to find him. I couldn’t give up if they weren’t giving up. We drove around searching, calling his name and hoping. Finally, I decided to walk along the fence that I saw the coyote tuck into … the same fence that Hoosier was spotted on the other side. I thought maybe I’d see a sign of a coyote attack and could, at least, put the mystery to rest. Again, our dog Louie and I found nothing. The rain poured down, the wind howled and we slipped into our comfy, warm beds, that night, wondering where/if Hoosier was sleeping.
Then Thursday arrived with news of a little white dog sighting by Holy Spirit Church, the church right by my house. This was the best lead we had, so far. I asked nobody to help and only informed my family of this new hope, yet I found myself a part of a team: The Hoosier-Finding Task Force. Mostly people who barely knew me and many who I met that day, drove and walked around that church and its bordering neighborhoods. A couple of my working friends, who couldn’t physically help, were my eyes and ears on the internet, scouring the Nextdoor site and any other leads they could find. Not because I asked them to, but because they decided to.
It turned out, Hoosier was spotted and identified by a few of the Holy Spirit staff, the prior day. They pointed me in the direction that he traveled while he ran away from them as they tried to catch him. I didn’t know there was a “Stations of the Cross” path behind Holy Spirit. It was the most beautiful path I’d ever seen. Louie Dog and I searched that path, kneeling at a few of the stations, and while I came up short one dog, I found my Father … and He was helping, too. Of course He was! He provided all those delightfully selfless people.
The rain poured, the thunder snapped and soggy Louie and I took refuge on the priest’s front porch. Certainly, a priest couldn’t throw us out! While there, I answered the calls of concern, offers of help and additional clues. A little white dog was spotted in the Admirals. What? That was so far! But, it wasn’t technically too far for a determined lost dog to travel in the 12 hours since his last spotting. So, Louie and I hopped back into the filthy VW Beetle that had become Hoosier Hunting Headquarters. Apparently, two other people had seen the same post on Nextdoor and did the same. They were easy to spot … the slow cars with windows down, yelling “Hoosier.” They each had treats and a leash on their front seat and this was the first time I had ever met either.
Finally, the call I had been waiting for: a dog strongly resembling Hoosier was spotted by my friend, Susan, in Windermere on her way home from looking for him. That woman looked, every day, and spread the news to everyone she knew or didn’t know. I was so happy she was the “winner,” the “finder,” the “hero.” Hoosier was found and brought back to his warm bed, where he slept soundly for two days straight.
If you’re looking for a moral to this story, it is this: We are surrounded by amazing human beings with huge hearts and selflessly giving souls. You can say it was their love for animals that drove them to help. Maybe. But, I love animals, too, and I’ve never done anything like this for a stranger. We are blessed to live where we live: next to angels. I will never, again, take you or this community for granted, and I will strive to live my life with your giving spirits. Thank you, Geist/Fishers neighbors for your wonderful example … oh, and for bringing my dog home.