I had a good cry today. I think all of our volunteers at Missing Pet Partnership had one, too. Lena, the Lab / Chow mix who escaped from her carrier at SeaTac airport on December 17tth was found today by a highway worker not far from SeaTac airport. Lena was apparently struck by a car and killed, probably not long after her escape.
What is disturbing is that it is possible that Lena could have been found when she was still alive. Although airport workers did their best to capture her (after they dropped her carrier, it broke open, and they chased after her, just like MPP tells you NOT to do), their biggest mistake was not going public with what happened. Perhaps the airlines involved wanted to protect themselves from negative publicity. Perhaps they thought their other efforts of driving around and looking for her were sufficient. Whatever the reason, no one in the immediate area or in the Seattle area knew that a dog had escaped it’s carrier, let alone what it looked like.
Missing Pet Partnership changed that. On New Years Day, over 2 weeks after Lena had escaped, our volunteers went public. We tagged our cars, we put postings on Craig’s List, our volunteers searched all the area shelters, we put up giant neon LOST DOG posters, we put out a press release, and we held an “Intersection Alert” at the main entrance to the SeaTac airport. All in 20 degree freezing weather! This effort resulted in local news coverage (KING 5 and KOMO 4). Three leads came in, but none of them panned out.
Until today. A highway worker found a deceased dog that he realized matched the description of Lena. He had seen the news reports on Lena and immediately called Missing Pet Partnership. Our volunteer contacted Lena’s owner and text-ed him a picture of the distinctive collar and of the dog and it was positively identified as Lena. It was a tough MPP day today. Although we know there is now closure for Lena’s family, endings like this are always tough.
I didn’t want to blog about Lena. It was too tragic, too sad. Until I opened an email about Spike. Remember him? Spike is the pitbull mix shelter dog that I blogged about in November. He was lost but then recovered due to advice listed on MPP’s web site. When found, Spike was a near skeleton after having lost so much weight.
But Kate Hager, the gal who helped recover Spike and told me about his story, sent me a YouTube video of Spike’s progress today. It couldn’t have come at a better time. You have to watch this–you have to see the result of a team of dedicated volunteers who saved the life of a loose/lost dog and how rewarding those efforts can be (not to mention a chance to see a photograph of the longest dog tongue, EVER!).
I wish that my volunteers had found Lena, like Kate and “Spike’s Circle” (the volunteers featured in the video) had found Spike. They found Spike in time. We weren’t able to do that for Lena. But that is life. I know that. Here at MPP, we’ve had our share of joyous Spike-type-finds. Just not this week. Not for Lena.
So in the shadow of our sorrow for the loss of Lena, we honor her memory by celebrating Spike’s Life. Please watch Spike’s story and say a prayer for Lena’s family.
P.S. Can you do a post script in a blog? Of course you can, when you write the blog like I do! I would be a neglectful nonprofit organization founder if I did not mention that Missing Pet Partnership is struggling in this economy and in need of donations. Our vision is to develop community-based volunteer teams who effectively recover lost cats and dogs, like Spike and Lena. We accept PayPal via our web site and your donations are tax deductible. Please give, so that lost pets might live!