Cars flashed by in a blur. A rock hit me in the face, its sting minor compared to the terror that gripped me. I screamed as I glimpsed a flash of Briggs, running. He was too far from me. He couldn’t hear me.
“No, no, no,” I sobbed. I jolted awake from a nightmare of Briggs trying to cross the highway. Josh held me as I gulped air, trying to quiet my mind. Even sleep wouldn’t let me escape. I dragged my tired body out of bed, my stomach still churning from an anxiety-filled night of disjointed dreams.
Rage overwhelmed me, and I couldn’t seem to stop it from growing. I had to leave the house for work that day, and I was mad that it would take me away from the search for Briggs. Briggs was all that was important to me at that moment, but I couldn’t call in or quit. Resigning myself, I started the drive into work — trying not to think about my panic-laced drive from the week before.
Keeping my eyes on the road, I answered my vibrating cell phone. It was Josh.
“I’ve been looking at that psychic website you sent. I think we should do it.”
Surprised, I asked him if he was sure. My fairly levelheaded husband humored me when it came to my interest in astrology and tarot card readers, but like most men, he wasn’t exactly into it. Earlier in the week, I had presented Josh with an animal communicator website I had learned about. A friend had found a pet psychic pamphlet at a pet store and suggested it. The communicator was known for specializing in missing pet cases.
“I feel like this will give us hope or at least an action plan for an area of the city we can focus on. It’s worth a shot — I’ll pay the $250.” Josh said. He knew I needed something to keep me going.
I agreed to contact the psychic later that day, though I wasn’t certain if I believed in the power of psychics. As a true skeptic, however, I was always willing to try something and base my opinion on experience. As far as I was concerned, we had nothing to lose.
Mulling it over, I begrudgingly climbed the steps to the drab brown building that housed my company. The beige hallway with equally beige carpet and wallpaper were a perfect representation of my feelings.
Even though I wasn’t a fan of the company (or its office decor), I worked with some great people there. As soon as I set foot inside, the women immediately converged upon me.
“How can we help? What can we do? We are so sorry!” A few of the men stopped by my desk, too, dog lovers who were willing to help. The manager sent out an office-wide email containing the “Stolen Dog” poster.
I sat at my desk, in a valiant attempt to focus on work-related topics. The overall beigeness of my office and the fluorescent lights began to press down on me in my suffocatingly small cubicle.
My cell phone proceeded to ring…and ring…and ring, forcing me away from work.
“How much is the reward?”
“I think I know where your dog is, but I want to know about the reward.”
“Give me the reward first, and then I’ll tell you what I know about your dog, lady.”
“I need money.”
“I’ll kill your fucking dog if you don’t pay up!”
Astounded, I simply hung up on the last caller. People did not care about my dog. All they cared about was lining their pockets. Money — the ultimate motivator.
We had been cautioned by the Lost Dogs of Wisconsin group not to release the amount of the reward because some would use it as a starting point to open negotiations — like a ransom for our stolen pet. It hurt my heart, knowing that I’d probably have to deal with someone like that. When did our society get to the point where being a good person was contingent upon a monetary reward?
Overwhelmed by the amount of nasty phone calls, I decided to go ahead with Josh’s suggestion and contact the pet psychic. Perusing his website, I realized he was located in Georgia. Hmm, I thought, I wonder if that will affect the, um, clarity of his reading? I had no idea how such powers worked. What if it’s a rainy day? Will that cloud his vision?
Laughing at myself a bit, I emailed the psychic. He quickly responded to my inquiry, but unfortunately, he was working with his own animal, hoping to help the dying cat to “transition.” He said he wouldn’t be able to help us for a few days.
I sent him the information he asked for, but I was I worried about his mental state. Will he even be able to help us after his animal’s death? I hoped that the emotional drain wouldn’t affect him, and that he could remain professional.
Thanking him again, I returned to my email to see forty-three messages waiting in my inbox. In under an hour, my email had filled with notes from concerned friends, family, and updates from Matt, my tech geek friend from college who’d appointed himself my unofficial “Briggs” social media campaign manager. I scanned Matt’s email and acknowledged his insistence that I create a Facebook page for the Briggs’ campaign; we needed a central location that we could direct people toward.
I thought it over and came up with a name that would immediately grab readers’ attention and inform them of what we were about. Thus, the “Stolen Dog—Bring Briggs Home” Facebook page was launched that very same day.
My good friend Marisa designed a background headline graphic to showcase Briggs’ white sock and sent it to me to serve as the header for the page. That image would eventually be shared by hundreds upon thousands of people.
I clicked “publish,” sat back, and prayed.
“Please, please, please,” I said.