A greyhound is missing. She is as white as she is skittish, as beautiful as she is scared. She's from Waco, a former stray who, after three months of fending for herself, was finally captured and driven to Dallas by a volunteer with the Greyhound Adoption League of Texas (GALT). She was given Tag No. 1897. A pink collar was placed around her neck, and a pink leash clipped onto the collar.
Saturday morning, about 10 volunteers, my son Charlie and I among them, combed the area where Tia was last seen. We wore jeans, and caps that covered our ears. I had on a yellow slicker and Charlie's sweatshirt was red, so we could see each other amid the gray drizzle. The brambles created a maze that a nimble dog might be able to maneuver, but probably not one pulling a leash. As we looked for Tia, we also kept our eyes open for pieces of pink amid the browns and tans and dots of green. All we saw were roots and trees and an occasional empty beer bottle.
Periodically, we'd cross paths with another volunteer. "Any word?" we asked, hoping beyond hope that maybe we had missed some bit of news. Charlie and I wandered, sometimes together, sometimes apart, for close to two hours before leaving to see my dad at the hospital.
The last few nights, I've woken up several times. I've heard rain on the roof, and hope that Tia has found shelter -- a pile of leaves maybe. Or, not as realistically, a warm bed in a house belonging to someone who doesn't know how to find the owner of this shy and courageous girl.
Sunday, another group met at 10. I didn't join them then, but after church, I went to the gym and then drove back to the neighborhood where Tia was last seen. I put on my hiking boots from the day before, the mud now dry and thickly caked on the sole. But there was some sort of police activity on the block that backs up to the field and forest, so I just drove around for a little while.
I heard this morning that the search goes on. A core team has been put into place, and a professional tracker hired. My fingers are crossed so hard they're losing circulation; my prayers for Tia's safe return, a mantra throughout my day.
I'm gratified and grateful that, though hope may be fleeting, it continues. That people will keep putting on their old jeans and tough shoes. That they'll keep plodding through brambles and mud for a white dog with a pink leash who is changing lives with her courage and her pluck, reminding us all that -- even when wilderness blocks the sun and we wonder what in the world we're doing -- we keep on going, keep on looking, keep on believing. Sometimes we don't really have a choice.
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