I gave Galen a hug this morning. And a kiss. And another hug. I’d just read a story about a dog gone missing and an owner desperate to find him. I needed to hug her.
On October 9, J.J. Pierce, a young high school teacher who recently moved from Washington D.C. to Philadelphia to teach and pursue a master’s degree, ran into a South Philly Home Depot. When she came out, her red Honda CR-V was gone – and so was her dog, Louie. The black Lab, a rescue and the love of Pierce’s life, had been in the car awaiting her return.
Five days after being stolen, police found the Honda abandoned in North Philly. They haven’t found Louie. Nor have the scores of people who have joined Pierce walking the streets of the city, scouring the local shelters, searching for what is very likely a scared and confused black Lab.
Pierce started a Facebook page, Help Louie Get Home, filled with the kinds of pictures every dog owner has and cherishes: Dog, pink tongue dangling from open mouth. Dog, hiking. Dog, lying on lap. Dog, looking lovingly yet quizzically into the camera. “My favorite part of my day is when I get to go through photos of Louie to select one for my post,” Pierce writes. “Tonight, I found this one and immediately started crying. I miss Louie more than I can handle right now and would do anything to have him home.”
Pierce is offering a reward for Louie. Flyers are posted, and billboards are going up around the city, paid for by money raised through a campaign she’s calling Help Louie Get Home! The more publicity she gets for Louie, the more likely it is that he will be returned to her.
If losing her dog was not devastating enough, Pierce also has had to contend with people criticizing her for leaving Louie in the car while she completed her errand, as though his going missing were somehow her fault. It’s not. (How many of us have not done exactly the same thing?) Still, how many times a day must she think to herself, “If only I’d left him home.”
Let’s hope that Louie is safe. That he is not hungry or hurt. That he finds his way home to a young woman who so clearly loves her handsome boy. And let’s give our own dogs an extra hug or two. We are so very fortunate to have them in our lives.
Please forward this post to anyone you know who lives in Philadelphia. If Louie is to be found, it will likely be because of the publicity his story is getting. And for more about the search, check out Pierce’s Facebook page.