When I realized in panic that Rusty wasn't in the house or fenced yard, I naturally turned up our street calling his name frantically as I went. After all this was the path we walked each evening. That he might have turned the other way, toward the corner and the six lane highway, seemed unthinkable.
A neighbour heard me calling. Taking pity on me, improperly dressed for the freezing weather, he offered to drive me around to look for Rusty.
And what a kind man he was to drive me all over the neighbourhood, even waiting patiently while I left our details at the elementary school on the off chance that Rusty might turn up there.
When our neighbour finally dropped me back home, I went out again on foot, but it was if Rusty had vanished off the face of the earth. Frozen, I finally retreated home. Later in the afternoon when my husband came home, we went out in the car and continued to look well into the evening, but to no avail. We went up to bed with one less dog and two very heavy hearts.
First thing this morning the phone ran. It was the animal shelter calling. I heard my husband saying Rusty's name into the receiver and my heart leapt for joy. Somebody had found our little lost boy!
But no, seconds later I heard my husband repeat the words "was hit by a car and had passed before the Police or Animal Control arrived". I burst into tears.
A spring and the latch on the backyard gate usually means that the gate locks shut whenever someone goes out. Unfortunately freezing temperatures and snow had effected mechanism and yesterday morning the latch did not lock. A gust of wind and the gate swung open for only a moment. Rusty seized the opportunity to go on a walk-about. What made him turn toward the busy highway we'll never know, but before I even realized he was missing, he probably already gone.
How we will miss our sweet little dog. My husband and I are devastated.