Long Lost Louie
This was going to be a perfect weekend. I was headed up North with the four loves of my life, including my fiancé and my three Chihuahuas. Walking the dogs on the beach, drinking wine by the relaxing bonfire below the star lit sky, and sleeping in late were on our agenda for this beautiful summer weekend. It was our first night in the lake house, and we had eaten dinner and headed to bed for the night, including Romeo, Chico and Louie finding their spots between the two of us.
My fiancé, Robert, and I had awoken around 4am and went outside for the fresh summer air. Within a few moments it had become apparent that Louie was nowhere to be found. We searched the house and it resulted in looking like a tornado had come through the house. No Louie. We immediately take action and fly down the driveway, pajamas and no shoes. Robert and I are screaming on the top of our lungs in this sleeping and motionless town of no more than 400 people. Tears running down my face, I have lost my best friend. The seven pound Chihuahua that has consoled me through bad breakups, and nursed me back to health after a back surgery, was lost in a completely unfamiliar territory, all by himself.
Occasionally we heard dogs barking and we would pause dead in our tracks to determine where exactly it was coming from. Running into ten different backyards, discovering it wasn’t my Louie tore my heart apart every single step on the pavement my bare feet were running on. I had never felt more hopeless in my life. We had covered every street and yard, and it was around noon, with no Louie. Do we give up? Do we call the police? Will I ever see him again? How do I live with myself? All these questions were flooding in my mind. We went back to the house, and I showered and rehydrated from the ninety degree weather. Crying, how was I taking a shower? Louie was all alone, without his mommy.
We stepped up our plan and contacted every local animal shelter, police station and spoke with many neighbors. My family was one hour away, deeply saddened by the situation, my mom suggested making flyers to post around the town and she would be on her way to help. Robert and I jumped in his truck and drove to Lake Geneva, where we printed out 50 flyers, thinking that would be enough. With two rolls of Duct tape and a full tank of diesel, we stopped at every light post, fence, tree, store, electric pole, person, and building to plaster the Missing Louie neon colored sign.
By this point my whole family was on the hunt. Roaming through neighborhoods, deserted farms, walking along the highway, and large forests, we had all split up and continually called for Louie. Four more stops to Office Max we had plastered and painted the town of Pell Lake, Wisconsin with pictures of Louie’s face, totaling close to 500 flyers.
At this point, the name Louie was like a town celebrity. Kids on bikes were cruising the neighborhood, in hopes of finding the small dog. Neighbors skipped dinner, and walked the neighborhood, calling out for Louie along the highway and through the corn fields. We learned through various people at shelters, that when a pet is lost, especially in unfamiliar territory, they are too frightened to let themselves be discovered. They will flee from you, as if you are a complete stranger. Learning this made me believe there was no hope. Even if I had spotted him, he would run in fear of his life? A local had called my cellphone, stating they saw a small white dog cross the highway, and run into the cornfields. We never ran so fast in our lives.
It was the end of the first night, the sun had set over the corn fields, and the moon was lighting up the small town. I had put his favorite blanket next to the corn field, with treats, water, his favorite toy, and a sock which smelled like me. This became known as Camp Louie. My entire family and I stood in complete silence as I called out for Louie into the scarcely still field of six foot corn. Tears running down my face, how would I go home and only have two of my three babies?
The following day was a blur to me. Posting more signs, pouring down rain, and no Louie. At this point I was extremely numb. I could not return home, and not have my companion by my side. I was forced to eat and forced to sleep the night before. I was an emotional wreck. Was he missing me, about me or was I completely forgotten about?
Two hours spent running in the hot sun, dehydrated & exhausted, we receive a call from a woman saying, “We got him!” At this point we were running in a farm with piles of cow manure taller than me, and farm animals running lose. I never ran so fast in my life to this family’s house. Louie had been trapped in their backyard fence. We get to their house and I walk to the backyard to find my Louie, in one piece, staring at me wagging his tail. His paws were swollen, and his eyes were blood shot. I picked him up and squeezed him immediately as he kissed my hand. I had found him at last. He didn’t give up on me, and I certainly did not give up on him.
Thanks to PetHub, and his collar, and unloving support from friends, family and strangers, we were able to find Louie. We packed up all three Chihuahuas in the truck and never looked back. We have yet to return to Pell Lake, Wisconsin.