Silence woke me. I puzzled over this until I realized I was listening for Briggs to do his wake-up “ear flap.” He always did a funny thing: he would shake his ears out, causing a distinct flapping sound that would nudge me out of sleep, and I’d peer over the bedside to see him waiting for permission to come up for morning snuggles. As soon as I left for work, he’d take my body-warmed spot in the bed and cuddle next to Josh. I stared at his empty dog bed, covered in his favorite blue sleeping bag. I had loved that sleeping bag for camping trips, but Briggs loved it more.
My phone beeped with a text message: “Hey, you don’t know me but I handle the Twitter account for La Perla (a local Mexican restaurant). I saw your Briggs poster and would like to send out information if you’re okay with that. We have 10,000 followers.”
Exuberantly, I performed a fist pump that would have made the cast of Jersey Shore proud.
“Thank you so much!” I texted back.
He responded and introduced himself as Steve Schumacher, then promised to tweet the information later in the afternoon. Calls like that always managed to wipe out the cold fear that the scarier calls left. A tweet isn’t much more than a minute of someone’s time, just 140 characters — yet it meant everything to us. The community support guided our perseverance and demanded that this was not to be our fate.
That’s the thing about battles. If you stop leading the charge, everyone will just go home.
In a far better mood, I headed off to work at the beige dungeon. On the drive there, I remembered something even more encouraging: Today was psychic day!
Elated, I called Josh to remind him.
“Okay, baby,” he said in a cautionary voice, “but just be prepared for whatever he tells us.”
“I know, I know,” I said.
On the psychic’s website, several disclaimers were posted that we would receive an immediate phone call if our animal had “transitioned.” If Briggs is dead, is what they meant. Hoping that no news was, in fact, good news in this case, I tried to push that grim thought aside. I rushed to hole up in my fluorescently lit, dull cubicle, bypassing the office gossips. Hoping not to be distracted, I tried to concentrate as questions flooded my mind. Should I call the psychic? Does he need more information? Was the email I had sent enough? When will he begin the map dowsing? What if it’s going on right now? And what the hell is map dowsing?
With my hand anxiously beating out a tap-tap-tap staccato rhythm on the desk, I refreshed my email constantly. This is it, I thought. This is how it works in the movies, right? Missing kids, missing dogs, missing keys, whatever: the sad couple’s last-ditch hope is to contact the psychic who leads them to the answer. We’re going straight to the source. Yes, this psychic will know the answer. He has to.
I grew more anxious with every minute that passed. I had to attend a sales meeting at three, and I didn’t want to be away from my computer or my phone. Not today, I thought. I can’t deal with this today.
Then, just like that, the little envelope blinked in my screen. I had incoming email, and it was — hallelujah — from the psychic. He didn’t call. He emailed me. Briggs was still alive.
Briggs was alive.
Breathless, I read the email. The psychic wanted to know if I knew anything about one particular neighborhood, one he was getting a strong sense about, and he said he’d give me more details shortly. Trying to stay calm, I shakingly stacked my notes for the sales meeting and snuck a quick text to Josh to update him. Debating for a moment, I slipped my phone into my folder. It would be joining me for this particular meeting.
I made my way to my seat in the conference room and sat quietly, waiting for the meeting to commence. My phone continued to vibrate against my leg, hidden from sight beneath the table.
We launched into a discussion about a direct mail campaign. The aforementioned, egotistical sales guy continued to overrule my marketing idea with his ingenious slogan idea: “Perhaps our service is a better fit.” I was floored that the vice president would even agree to such a 1980s, backwards campaign. Refusing to be talked over, I expressed my displeasure with that particular direct mail campaign, prompting the sales guy into an attack.
“That’s just because you don’t want to work hard, Tricia.”
My already raw emotions boiled over.
“Excuse me? You think I don’t want to work hard? You don’t even know the definition of hard work, of how to truly hustle. You sit there making one phone call an hour, then walk around the office looking for snacks. You’ve closed one sale since you’ve worked here — ONE! You have no concept of what hard work even means.”
Furious and my voice shaking, I couldn’t help but smile. It felt good to stand up to someone who spent his days putting others down.
Silence fell, and everyone in the room stared at me in shock. I stared right back at my adversary, refusing to back down, and then glanced around at the others.
“Are we finished here?”
The sales guy refused to make eye contact with me and stormed out of the conference room, slamming the door on the way out. Damn, that felt good, I thought, and quickly retreated to my office to check my phone and email.
Finally – the psychic had returned our email with a detailed account:
I had an opportunity to communicate with Briggs. Here is what he shared with me:
He said he has been staying inside mostly and is well.
He said he gets moved around a lot and visits a different place during the day.
He showed me an older Latino woman (50’s/60’s) that he visits during the day.
He showed me two small elementary-aged children and a Latino man that he visits during the night.
Both locations are close together and appear to be apartment buildings.
He gave me the sounds of air brakes from a truck or bus.
He showed me a small park that he has visited.
He showed me a brown brick church or building near the park.
He showed me a dark (grey, silver, black) older car that he has been in.
He said he rode in a car for a long time when he was taken.
I then pulled a map of the area and performed detailed map dowsing. Below is the area that holds the greatest energy signature at this time. I have placed push pins in areas that may match what he has shared.
I would suggest visiting the buildings marked first and any close by that are similar. Talk to the building managers to see if they have seen him or know of anyone who has a new dog/puppy. See if they will post signs and send an e-mail message to the residents.
Visit the park areas and speak to the grounds crew to see if they have seen him and will post in the area. See if they have a website or Facebook page where information can be posted.
Visit the bus stops and speak to the drivers. See if they have seen him or heard anyone speaking about a new dog/puppy. Check with the churches, schools and pre-schools in the area to see if they have seen him and can post on their website and Facebook accounts.
Stay in close contact with the breed specifics and other rescues and shelters in this area. They may look to sale him, and if they can’t quickly, they may give up and turn him in. Check Craig’s List and other local free publications to see if he is posted. Also, any known postings or locations where they sell dogs (non-pet stores). He has not said he has been with other dogs or has been attempted to be sold.
Check the local restaurants, grocers and convenient stores in your neighborhood. The man may work in the area or visit those locations.
Check with neighbors and businesses to see if they have hired any people or companies to do repairs or yard work to their homes or buildings.
I have asked Briggs to show himself often and allow people to assist him. I let him know that you are looking for him, love and miss him very much. It is very important to stay positive and visualize his return to you.
My entire body went warm, and my heart soared.
Briggs was alive.
Ecstatic, I forwarded the email to Josh and then stared at the map. It was a Google picture map, and I could see the true image and color of the buildings. The psychic had placed arrows next to the spots that best resembled the descriptions Briggs had given him, as well as where he sensed a strong energy from Briggs. I knew the neighborhood, and it was located only about fifteen minutes west of where we lived. It was the kind of neighborhood we drove around, not through.
I was stuck on the description of an old woman caring for Briggs during the day. Is this a grandmother to the children he stays with at night? Is she kind? Briggs had so much energy, and I couldn’t imagine his needs could possibly be met by an older woman. Where is he sleeping? How do they take him outside? Did they put a new collar on our dog?
I thought about the children the psychic had mentioned. Children were a wildcard, in my opinion. Normally, I would have felt comfortable with Briggs playing with kids, as they have the high-level energy necessary to entertain a Boston terrier. However, after receiving a few heinous prank calls from children and hearing their laughter over the idea of killing our dog, I no longer felt that way.
I tried to focus on the best-case scenario. My hope was that Briggs had been stolen by a dad who worked in our neighborhood, had seen Briggs, and had thought Briggs would make the perfect gift for his children. At the very least, that would mean he was being taken care of. On some level, whether we ever got Briggs back or not, that was the very best I could hope for — that he’d been taken by someone who would love him and treat him well.
I answered a phone call from Josh as I left work with my map in hand and ready to begin my reconnaissance mission.
“Tricia, promise me you won’t go into that neighborhood without me,” my husband implored.
“Dammit, Josh. You’ve got to be kidding me.” Busted, I slammed my hand on the steering wheel.
“Don’t do this,” he pleaded. “I can’t be constantly worried for your safety. Just wait one more day. We’ll go tomorrow, together. I promise.”
Josh, as usual, was the one with his head properly screwed on.
Reluctantly, I agreed. Yet — Josh had only told me not to go “into” the neighborhood; he hadn’t said anything about going around it. Maybe if I just skirted the surrounding, busier streets. Who knows? Maybe Briggs would be outside for an after-work walk.
Megan, the girl who’d been showing up daily for stacks of flyers, called to find out what the psychic had discovered. I told her about the less-than-desirable neighborhood, but warned her not to go alone, the same warning Josh had given me. Briggs was our dog so putting myself at risk to rescue him was one thing, but I couldn’t knowingly lead or allow others to head into danger. She promised not to go; all the while, I was driving directly towards the area myself, blatantly ignoring Josh’s orders and certainly not practicing what I was preaching to the woman on the other end of the phone.
As I was making my way to exactly where I had promised not to go, Megan called again. Panic laced her voice as she admitted that she’d directly ignored my warnings and had driven through the neighborhood.
“Um, okay. So you were right. I definitely should not have gone there alone.”
She went on to describe that the streets were very narrow in the heart of that neighborhood; on a nice, summer day, people milling on the streets could easily converge on cars, and it wouldn’t take much for drivers to find themselves stopped, with a gun pressed up against the window. She promised to heed my advice the next time I told her to avoid certain areas, and then disconnected.
Marveling over the pure heart of this stranger, I hoped all of our hard work would ultimately pay off for us. Oh wait, didn’t somebody just say something about me not knowing what it means to work hard, I thought, shaking my head.
Needing reinforcements, I called my friend Paulie. He agreed to join us the next day and serve as our driver as we headed deep into the inner city. He offered to call a buddy of his who used to live in that area and he said he’d get the word out and would drive through the neighborhood before dusk that evening. Relieved, I picked another neighborhood to plaster with flyers and waited to hear back from Paulie. Fortunately, the wait wasn’t long.
“Don’t go into that neighborhood alone, Tricia,” he said, echoing Josh’s warning and Megan’s report. He went on to explain that the nice weather had drawn everyone out to the streets. He also informed me that his old friend had gotten back to him; he’d moved out of that neighborhood when a dispute between his two cousins ended in murder — a dispute over a mere $400.
“It isn’t worth risking your safety, Tricia, so you have to wait on Josh and me. We’ll go tomorrow, around ten a.m., when people are sleeping or at work.”
Knowing when to pull back, I agreed.
Sitting at home that evening, I contemplated everything the psychic had said. I put the good energy out there and talked to Briggs, letting him know we were coming for him. I talked to spirit guides, God, or any spiritual messenger who might carry my words to Briggs.
“Please keep him safe and tell him we’re coming for him.”
The vibrating of my phone interrupted my prayers and supplications. My phone buzzed and beeped excitedly — signaling multiple text messages, emails, and Facebook alerts. I glanced at my computer and saw that emails had poured in; Briggs’ Facebook page had exploded.
“Whoa…what the…what’s going on?” I wondered.
The first text message was from Steve at La Perla.
“You’re blowing up! All the restaurants and news stations are sharing you on Twitter!”
Witnessing social media at its finest, I sat there, astounded, as Briggs’ story went viral.
Apparently, while I had been talking to psychics and dealing with work issues, restaurants all over Wisconsin had tweeted about it and offered to chip in to bulk up the reward. Bars, stores, bloggers, and all the major news stations were catching wind of it and spreading the word. Local DJs wrote about Briggs on their blog and sent friend requests to me left and right on Facebook. I logged on to the Facebook page for Briggs and thanked as many people as I possibly could, but it was close to impossible to track how many people had shared it.
That night, Briggs’ “Stolen Dog” poster was shared over and over and over, reaching far beyond our neighborhood. The energy was in the air; I could feel it, and I hoped Briggs could too. I hoped he knew how hard everyone was looking for him.
Then, as if some Big Bang had taken place in all of cyberspace, all of my alerts sounded. Phone calls, texts, emails, and Facebook posts and messages flooded in all at once. Astounded, I stared at my computer screen: Rose McGowan, a famous actress and part of the WB’s Charmed cast, had tweeted the Briggs’ poster.
And just like that, we’d gone national.