Thank you all so much for your amazing love and care for us and for Clue. Your comments have really helped keep me going.
In answer to some questions: Yes, the kennel has multiple people out every day. All police, animal control, vets, and other kennels in a very wide radius have been notified. She is microchipped and that has now been changed to reflect the fact that she is lost. We KNOW where she was yesterday. That is a great relief. The tracks are unmistakeable and they were concentrated in one (large) area. I saw one pee spot and it didn’t have blood in it, so I have hope. We have blanketed the entire community with fliers.
The good: Snow is coming tomorrow, which will provide a fresh surface for tracking her. It will also give her a way to curl up and stay warm. Bronte is a freaking hero; she did the equivalent of ten TDX trails end-to-end, with many cross-tracks from humans, rabbits, and other dogs, with multiple corners and circles and double-backs, and she never left Clue’s track. I’d see her start down another track and correct within a few feet, wheeling back and scenting for the right one. She communicated perfectly with me, waited while I was climbing over logs and rocks. She tracked through puddles, across bare rock, and all the way to a blacktop road, where the track disappeared. She was invaluable because she told me so clearly that the trail was old; her nose was in the ground but her tail was down and quiet. I could have followed the tracks in many places, but she kept me going and she confirmed for us when we weren’t sure which track to follow. And, wonder of wonders, her ears were up and forward and she was pulling on the lead. In all her 22 months of life she has never been this focused and confident. I have no idea if anything else will ever motivate her the way finding Clue would, but if she’s even half this good we now know what her post-conformation career will be. I hated to put her back in the car–she was so discouraged and nervous again.
The bad: Snow is coming, and lots of it.Unless we are very wrong about how much weather there is going to be, nobody will be able to get out in the woods again until Sunday. Clue hasn’t eaten since Monday. There’s enough standing water that I am not worried about her drinking, but even though she was carrying a couple extra pounds she was she’s got to be feeling pretty hungry and crappy right now. The other bad thing is that she has definitely turned the feral corner in her brain (this can happen VERY fast when a dog feels betrayed and hurt and lost)–the track kept going to the edges of back yards and then you’d see her turn and run the other way. She’s avoiding people, which won’t help her.
We are praying that her hunger and the snow drives her into the neighborhood by the tracks. She is alert enough to be turning back from both the highway and the river, but she needs to go find a human, and then allow herself to be caught.
Many people have asked if there’s anything they can do. Right now, the answer is no. There are multiple people looking every day, and there are traps and crates set. These are good people; the owners and employees are all dog people, and all show dog people. Nobody’s telling me to calm down, nobody’s (gag) offering me money or talking about her being gone. They’re all doing a better than good job with this, and it wasn’t negligence that caused it. IF we don’t find her by next week I may be asking for more help.