Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Saga of Buddy Lee in the Big Bad Woods

In preparation for my big yard sale I am going through every cabinet and looking under every rug for stuff to sell or throw away or burn (hey, my house is old and it is cold and we are in a recession...I'm also looking for things to turn into soup.)  Anyway, in a laundry basket (don't ask me why) in the corner of my room I found this stack of "Lost Cat" flyers I had made the summer before last in an effort to find my little lost kitty Buddy Lee.  


The infamous "Lost Cat" flyer that papered the community of Greeley Hill.


It brought back all of the memories that simultaneously tragic, comical and endless summer looking for him and so I thought I would share the story...


In the summer of 2009 my family opened a bed & breakfast outside of Yosemite National Park.  I moved up there (six hours from where I live the rest of the year) and brought my cat with me.  On the first day we were there my 9-year-old Los Angeles living indoor only kitty, confused by the car ride and the commotion of the people of the bed and breakfast got out.  We are not sure how it happened but we believe that the screen door did not get tightly shut and out Buddy went in the night.  So my 3 lb pampered city kitty disappeared into the big bad unknown of Yosemite.

I was frantic.  I combed the woods, calling his name.  Actually he is a she...its complicated.  Nine years earlier my dad and I found him in an intersection seconds after he had been run over by a car.  He was about a month old, fit in the palm of my hand and had a tire mark and fur missing where the car had run over him.  But, after an immediate trip to the vet he was pronounced to be a boy and his injuries were classified as merely flesh wounds.  I took him home and nursed him back to health, he immediately took to my mom and grandma and snuggled up with them while I was away at school and settled into his cushy little life.  A few months later he went into heat and began rubbing himself up against my dogs who were very confused.  Thus, we knew it was actually a girl.  But by then the name Buddy Lee had stuck and we figured it really didn't matter if we called her "he" and the legend was born.



My Mom wrote on all of the flyers that Buddy was the victim of a gender identity crisis...

So anyway, Buddy is precious and he sleeps wrapped around your neck like a stole.  He is just the best and we all love him and the idea of him being lost in the woods was too much to bare.  I immediately drove to the ranch and feed supply store in town and bought humane traps for catching raccoons, foxes and coyotes.  Then I began baiting the traps with sardines and salmon and every night before dusk going out into the woods and setting the traps.  In a week I caught seven foxes, one squirrel and pissed off one bear who was too big to get in and snatch the salmon.  Luckily our nearest neighbor up here, Tom Jenkins, the man, the legend, a seventh generation cattle rancher and descendent of the founder of our town of 115 people, father of the first soldier killed in the Iraq War, and owner of the most valuable Angus bull in the United States (apparently it has the largest testicles and most virile sperm in the Western United States), likes the foxes to keep the gopher population down so I was able to do him a solid and take the foxes over to his ranch and release them.  So I very quickly became a valued member of local ranching community and was asked to be the queen of the La Grange rodeo the following April. (I declined the offer but was flattered all the same).

Anyway, after my trapping failed to produce Buddy Lee and two weeks had passed, I got desperate....so desperate I hired a pet detective.  Yes, they exist and yes I know, you are laughing and cringing at the same time.  I first contacted Carl Washington, Pet Detective, who is basically a backwoods tracker in rural Georgia who when not searching out corpses in the bayous for the police uses his hounds to track the scent of your lost pet.  He is a giant African American man, in a booney hat who I am convinced was the inspiration for Robert Downey Jr. when he was creating his character Sgt. Lincoln Osiris in "Tropic Thunder."  Unfortunately Mr. Washington could not get out from Georgia to our place to track Buddy Lee so he suggested that I try another pet detective in California.  I was next put in touch with Annalisa Berns, owner, operator and founder of Pet Search and Rescue based out of LA. She told me that she could find my Buddy Lee and would be up the next day with her highly skilled search and rescue dogs for $2,500.  "Two and a half grand?!?" I blurted out.  "Yes, but typically when we search out an animal after three weeks, the animal is deceased, so time is of the essence," she replied.  I got sick at the thought of that and seeing how devastated my mom was by Buddy's disappearance I said "Okay...get up here as soon as you can."

She required payment up front and then drove up so I wired her the money and within eight hours she was at my door with her five dogs.  I heard the knock and when I opened the door...I knew I had made a mistake.  She was standing in front of me in a day-glow orange jumpsuit with reflective stripes and the words "Pet Search and Rescue" emblazoned on the back.  If that wasn't ridiculous enough her high trained scent search dog was a pug with an eye patch.  A pirate pug?  They can't even breath let alone sniff out another animal.  But I decided I had paid her and I was going to stay open minded.  I put her and her "driver" and the five search dogs up in the downstairs suite of the B&B and fed them.  The next morning she said she was going to go out and do her area search.  Basically it looked just like a Cal-Trans worker taking their fat little dog for a walk.  After 20 minutes she came back and got me and said she had found Buddy's remains.  I followed her down this little trail about 75 feet from the house and there in the middle of the hiking trail were two organs...a kidney and a liver. There was no blood and there was no ant activity and the organs were moist in 107 degree weather.  I stopped and said out loud, "A cat kidney and a liver?  That's odd isn't it?"  She assured me it was completely normal and that she finds organs all the time, that is how she identifies people's pets.  I was suspicious but she was insistent that it was completely normal and was pretty certain it was my cat which meant that it must have just happened hours before .  She suggested I take the organs to a vet to have them identified as feline.  If I had not been so emotional I would have questioned her but I knew they were cat organs because they were just like the ones we dissected back in high school.  She decided to take the rest of the day off to let me grieve and went into Yosemite.  While she was gone and I was crying in my soup feeling guilt and anguish over Buddy it occurred to me...wait a second...those organs did look just like specimens and there is no way a wild animal would leave a perfectly intact pair of organs in the middle of the road.  So then I started investigating.  I found a place on the internet that sells cat organs for research and then I looked up the website of her "search and rescue partner" and her website had testimonial of person after person who were so thankful that Annalisa had brought them closure and identified their lost pet by internal organ remains. I ran back to the place where she had found the organs and collected them...as I suspected they smelled of formalin.  Long story short...I was getting furious at this point and I was on to her con.  I spent the rest of the day pacing waiting for her to get back so I could give her a piece of my mind.

When she walked in the door I confronted her and with righteous indignation she said, "You are insulting me with your questioning of my integrity as a pet detective!" At that moment it occurred to me that never before in the history of the English language has more ridiculous words been spoken.  "Get Out!" I replied, and she was packed up and gone in under fifteen minutes.  I thought my Dad was going to kill her and frankly I think she thought that too. :-)

Another month and a half passed and still there was no sign of my precious Buddy.  I was losing hope every day.  Luckily I had the constant influx of guests to distract me.  One guest who was a 600 lb man with the Chinese mail order bride who ate 7 1/2 lbs of bacon at one breakfast service was the best distraction of all.  



Then one day I got a call from Gretchen the mail lady who thought that she and her husband had found Buddy living under their barn.  She said she would call me when her husband got back and we could come over and pick him up.  I was ecstatic but then when 12 hours passed and we received no word from them I decided to drive over there and look under their barn.  Their house is about two miles away and set way back into the woods.  I took my flashlight, nobody seemed to be home, so I decided to start poking around under their barn.  I did find a cat, that sort of looked like Buddy but it was a big tomcat with large testicles...apparently drinking the same water as Tom Jenkin's prize bull.  Sweet Gretchen had erroneously assumed that the cat I named Buddy Lee and referred to as a male was indeed a male and not a neutered little girl cat.

For two months solid I trapped in the forest hoping to find Buddy and I basically trapped every single fox in the area save for this one big old one with a split ear and a broken tail shaped like a lightening rod.  He really looked like a cartoon villain and no matter how many traps I set out or how many different fox delicacies I baited them with I couldn't catch him.  He was so smart he even started walking up to the security cameras around the property and looking in the lens...as if to taunt me.  He would also stroll around the driveway in broad daylight looking at me through the window as if to say, "Yeah, I'm bad...do something about!"  I really grew to hate this fox...especially for the fact that in my isolated world up here I was being driven to the point of believing a fox was my arch nemesis.  But the final straw came when I opened my curtains one morning to find a fox poop on the wall right outside my window.  It was his calling card...and I was shaking my fist in the air at him.

I realized that I was losing my mind.  I was living in a town of 115 people, talking animal tracking with the cattle ranchers at the saloon in town, paying money to a pet detective and getting riled up over a sly old fox.  Oh and get this...I had stopped wearing nail polish and begun looking forward to trips to Wal-Mart to buy new shirts.  I decided it was time to mourn the loss of my cat, and reclaim my old self...when there on the security cameras was a live feed of my cat Buddy chasing a butterfly down by the creek.  He was alive after 63 days in the woods!  I immediately pitched a tent in the little area where I had seen him hunting bugs and began hanging out down there a few minutes every day.  Then, armed with new knowledge of animal trapping I baited a large trap with a whole rotisserie chicken.  A week later I had him back.  He was skin and bones and covered in blackberry thorns but no worse for the wear.  Now he is back safe and sound and the local paper even came out and did a story on "Buddy Lee the Wonder Cat of Yosemite" The byline read, "City slicker cat survives two months in the wilds of the Stanislaus, becoming a living legend in Mariposa County."  I personally felt they should have given Buddy Lee the keys to city.



Now, a year a half later, I have my little Buddy Lee back and the distinct pleasure of burning all of those awful "Lost Cat" posters.  So today, I officially close the book on the saga of Buddy Lee the lost kitty...


The flyers are committed to the fire...

Burn...


Buddy Lee sunning himself in the window this afternoon...

19 comments:

Alexander said...

Whitney, I am so glad you have Buddy Lee back. How did she eventually return? We are missing our cat, who is a very shy indoor cat, and we have already had two pet detectives searching with dogs. We have only paid about $300 so far, but I think these "detectives" are a scam! Their dogs behave like any other pet dog on a walk: sniff every bush, sniff at trees where other dogs have peed, etc. Aren't real tracking dogs supposed to keep their focus on their job? I have e-mailed Carl W., who wants $80 for a profile and over two grand to come out and search. He said on the phone that he'd e-mail us a "map profile," but we already know where the cat is (my son spotted him once right outside the house); the problem is: he hides during the day and won't go in the trap. Carl insisted that he needs to do a profile, but I am skeptical. If you have any thoughts or suggestions, please let me know. Thank you so much in advance. Sincerely, Natalie

Whitny said...

Hey Natalie, I am so sorry to hear about your kitty. But have faith. We eventually got Buddy back by setting a humane trap in the area where we had seen him on the camera. I set the trap so that the door was open but didn't activate the release mechanism that would close it if Buddy stepped on the plate with the food. My theory was that Buddy would come in to the trap to eat the food if he saw other animals entering it but not getting trapped. So after about a week I went ahead and set the mechanism on the trap so that the door would close if an animal walked in it. I just had to hope that the next animal to walk into it was Buddy.

The next morning my Dad got this feeling that it was the right time! So he rushed down to the meadow by the creek and put a whole rotisserie chicken in the trap and set the motion activated camera on the trap. By the time Dad got back up to the bed and breakfast and looked on the camera feed on the computer the trap door was shut. He rushed back down there and sure enough Buddy was in the cage. He was skin and bones and missing clumps of fur but he...I should say...she was just fine.

Buddy Lee is sitting on the couch next to me right now and says hi. :-)

My best suggestion to you is to buy the biggest trap you can get your hands on. Since we are in a rural area we were able to get one that they use to trap mountain lions. Its big enough that Buddy didn't feel claustrophobic I guess. Then, we left it open with food in it for a while waiting for him (her :-) to become comfortable with it and then us getting Buddy in the trap on the first time was just luck. My best advice, since you know where your kitty is, is to just be patient and keep putting out food so that your cat knows to come to your house and then the closer and closer the cat gets try using the trap.

If you have any other questions please don't hesitate to ask!

Whitny

Alexander said...

Whitney, I am grateful for this information and your advice. I enjoyed reading your post about the Buddy saga. Good sense of humor:) I think I'll follow your advice and get a bigger trap. I am just overcome by despair: it's been so long (over four weeks) and it's very cold. The configuration of the place is not helpful. It's not the best neighborhood and people tend to think that a camera would be stolen very quickly. It's a densely populated city block, with lots of noise and cars, and with several confident stray or in- and outdoor cats prowling the block. There are also rats. My son caught a rat in the trap I had baited with tuna. His reaction was that we are creating a "war zone" with all the food we are putting out, and this scares our cat even more. And yet that's the advice I am getting from the sources on the Internet that seem to make sense to me. So, I am not sure what to do, and I have a feeling that the people who charge money to "advise" us on reuniting us with our lost pets either know little more than anybody else, or worse are frauds. Anyways, thanks so much again. Say Hi to Buddy Lee. And if you have any other suggestions, please let me know. This is really heartbreaking!

Whitny said...

Nathalie, I know its hard not to despair. Just remember that we were missing Buddy Lee for three whole months without a single sighting. We had no idea whether or not Buddy had been snapped up by a coyote or a fox or a mountain lion. At least you know your kitty is near so you have no reason to give up hope.

Honestly, I would advise you to stay away from the pet detectives. Actually I think Carl Washington is a good man but the woman Annalisa Berns was a complete fraud. She tried to pass off a cat kidney and liver preserved in formalin as the remains of my cat. I feel like anyone who really wants to help you get your cat back will just tell you for free without holding your emotions hostage and making you pay.

Tell me more about your neighborhood. Are you located in a block of houses or apartments? Are you in the city or the suburbs? I am going to post another story tonight on the blog about how we got our other kitty Harriett back after five days in the city. It might give you some other tips..

I am so so so sorry...believe me, I really know what you are going through. Also, what state are you in?

Alexander said...

Whitney, thanks so much again. Having Buddy Lee missing so long and not knowing must have been an ordeal! And having that woman try that number on you is beyond horrible! I am sorry you were put through that.

My son's neighborhood is in the city (Washington, DC). His block is in between a residential street with townhouses and a rather busy main drag with small businesses, a library, a police department, and lots of liquor stores. There are lots of rats in the area too, and they seem to be almost tame, not too afraid of people. My son lives in a basement apartment of a four story townhouse, and the only entrance to this apartment is to the back of the building. There is a tiny covered back porch and the tiny back yard is converted into a parking lot with three parking spaces, and that's where we spotted Gui and where we are placing the traps. I also have a medium-sized dog crate which I covered with a blanket and in which I put food, a Snugglesafe (a pet heating pad) and catnip. All of this space is really cramped. There is barely enough place for the two crates. Gui's litter box is also on the porch. We had one of the traps covered with a blanket, but one of the stray cats urinated on it, and my son thought that this might keep Gui away too, so we got rid of the blanket. So, that's the set-up. In a way I am glad he is so hard to catch because no human can hurt him, but it's also hard to help him. My son was out at one in the morning last night looking for him and saw a three-cat gang hanging out treating themselves to our tuna. He caught a rat in one of the traps too.

I will be interested in reading your city lost kitty story. Thanks again. Natalie

PS My husband's name (Alexander) is showing up because of some glitch, which I can't fix right now. Sorry about that.

Whitny said...

Does your son call Gui's name? One thing that I think really helped in both Buddy and Harriett's cases was the fact that my mom just spent hours calling out their names so that they wouldn't go feral. She wanted them to keep hearing their names so that they associated the sound with home.

I have a good feeling that you will get Gui back but it is truly an excruciating exercise in patience. It sounds like everything you are doing is good. If you weren't so far away I would send you our traps.

Can your son set out a web camera on the food so that he can see when Gui is coming to eat? Maybe if you can establish a pattern of when Gui is coming to eat you could bate the trap but not set the trap for a while so that Gui gets comfortable with it as part of his environment. And then after a week or so you could set the trap. Or if you knew what hour he was approaching the trap your son could be out there at that time calling his name.

I hope these suggestions help! Keep me posted!

Alexander said...

Thanks Whitney! We have plenty of traps, but I think you are right, we should get a bigger one, which I hope to do today. My son agreed that maybe Gui, the scaredy cat that he is, gets claustrophobic with smaller cramped crates. Yes, my son calls his name out a lot, and they also had a special "talk," where my son would make a sound and Gui would respond to him. So my son walks around the neighborhood making that sound and calling "Gui, Gui-eeeee," and the neighbors think he is slightly off:). Thanks again for the advice and encouragement. Natalie

James E. Braun said...

Natalie,
Hi...I'm Whitny's dad. After reading this string I felt like I could offer some insight that might help. It's almost surreal in a sense because just the other day Buddy was wrapped around Gail's (the wife and mother) neck and I felt compelled to tell her why I never gave up looking for Buddy, even though the odds seemed so against us. One afternoon about a month after he went missing, Gail and I were out walking the property calling his name and Gail said, "Jim, I'm just so heartbroken. I can't believe he's gone." Well, when she said that, I just got a feeling that I can't explain...but I knew he was alive." So, I decided to keep looking until something convinced me that he was not alive. The day I first saw him, Gail and Whitny had gone home to Los Angeles and I was running things by myself. The day they were coming back...I remember it was a very busy Saturday and after the last guest left I went down to the computer that the wildlife camera system is linked to. I saw that the camera down by the creek had 75 photos. I knew most of them were going to be foxes, raccoons and quail, but I figured I'd clear them out. So, I started through them and like usual, the first few pictures were birds and suddenly, there was Buddy Lee! No sign of him for 62 days and there he was, jumping on a butterfly. The hardest part was that I immediately called Gail...they were already on their way up. She answered her phone with "You found Buddy?!!" I filled her in, and I think she was expecting to see him when she got there. It was actually 10 days before I actually caught him. I got him on the camera a few more times, but even though I set up a tent for Gail to hang out in where the camera had caught him, he wouldn't come to us. So, I put out a mountain lion trap and reworked the triggering mechanism so his 2 lbs. would trip it. Whitny put a carabiner on it so he would get used to going in it. And, I did get a couple of pictures of him sniffing around it. Then, one morning at breakfast one of the guests said that she had seen a coyote on the road the night before. We hadn't seen a coyote or mountain lion since he had gone missing...and that's why I kept looking. But, when I heard that, I jumped on my quad and tore down there and tossed a whole chicken in the trap and set it. When I looked at the photos later, there was one of me setting the trap and the next one was the trap door closed. Which means he was in there within 15 seconds of me setting it.
It was the same thing with Harriett. Just not giving up. Everyone told us we were being ridiculous, but we have them both back. Yesterday, I heard on the news that a cat that was lost during Katrina found its way home after 5 years. I don't really understand why after a certain point they won't come to you and you do have to trap them. But, I do think many animals that go missing could be found if their owners didn't give up. They are amazingly resourceful, but they do kind of go ferrel after a point. I'm used to looking for animals because I have the world's most ridiculous little dog that looks like Max from the Grinch cartoon and she is totally deaf, so when she gets lost, I can't call her. I just go out and look. I've always found animals I've lost. I really think the key is not giving up. My little weird dog was someone else's obviously and they could have found her if they wanted to, but I never saw posters or any attempt. I made what efforts I could to find her original owners as she was probably 10 years old when I found her. But...she is now probably 16 and no one made any effort to find her. So...once again...I really think if you don't get discouraged and keep looking, your odds are pretty good. I wish you all the luck in the world...I know how heart wrenching this is.

Alexander said...

James and Whitney, I am grateful that you have taken the time to write. Your encouragement and suggestions are very valuable to us. James, I sent your post to my son, and I believe it made a difference because before reading it he felt totally hopeless and discouraged, but now he is talking about the next steps with more hope. So, thank you! For us, this has been so unsettling because we have never had a pet missing so long. A few of the guys got out, but we always recovered them the same day. Our hooligan cat, Smokey, slipped out a few times, but he came right back after checking things; he'd never miss his meals. You sound like wonderful people, and Whitney is lucky to have such supportive, pet loving parents. Happy holidays to all of you, people and animals! I'll keep you posted. Natalie and the family in Maryland

Alexander said...

Whitney and James, my son just spotted Gui again, and again, he darted away. We think that he may be the among those eating the tuna fish we put out every night. This is really good news, but we are just so anxious to get him back inside that not being able to catch him is very frustrating. I got a camera, which we hope to set up tomorrow or the next day. We just don't know if Gui comes near the trap or gets inside. The trap is not set yet (held open with a big twig), but we wanted to have it right by the house because we are having an unusually cold snap, with rainy and snowy weather, so we want the trap dry and in a warmer place. We also have a Snugglesafe, which you heat in the microwave and which keeps warm for a few hours, but we have it in an open crate next to the trap, in case Gui doesn't want to get in the trap but can still keep warm for a little while in a bigger cage. It keeps the tuna from freezing too. Any tricks or suggestions you can think of would be greatly appreciated. Thanks again for your help. Have a wonderful Christmas eve and a good holiday. Natalie

Whitny said...

Hi Natalie! That is such great news! I have every confidence that you will get Gui back. The only thing I could think to add to your whole setup comes courtesy of my mom...she suggested making a tape recording of your voice or your son's voice and set the the little recorder in the trap so that Gui keeps associating your voice with food and home and comfort. Cats revert to feral behavior patterns really easily so its important to keep that connection with the sights and smells and sounds of home. I have a feeling Gui is going to be back home very very soon!

Please keep me updated! I think about you and your son and Gui every day when I pet Buddy. I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas!

Whitny

Alexander said...

Thanks so much Whitney! The trap is not actually big enough to fit any sort of device in it without interfering with the trip mechanism. Right now it's baited but not set yet. Also, there is no electrical outlet outside, but we can figure out how to overcome these obstacles. The tape recorder can be put right next to the trap I guess. The thing is though that Gui is such a coward that he might get scared of a new object. When he was about one (he is two now), my son had a birthday balloon in the living room, so Gui hid from it in the closet of the bedroom for a week! They couldn't figure out why he wasn't coming out, and only when they hid the balloon, did he make his appearance in the rest of the apartment. They had to feed him in the bedroom for a week! He is a character. Very sweet and affectionate but totally scared of everything. He was rescued as a very young kitten from a feral colony along with his cousin Wally, who lives with me now. I don't know whether this has to do with how skittish they are, but Wally is a big coward too:) Anyway, thanks a lot for the suggestions and for thinking about little Gui. Merry Christmas to you and your family. Natalie

Alexander said...

Whitney and James, Happy New Year to you and the whole family. An update on our search for Gui: we have seen him several times at night or in the wee hours of the morning, but he remains elusive and will not come to us. My son tried chasing him once, which was a mistake, but fortunately, Gui came back a couple of nights later. We have baited and set two box traps and one drop trap, which is recommended for hard to trap cats and which you have to control by a string watching from a distance. We have been staging camp outs in the car; the one yesterday lasted five hours, which was pretty hard. Gui has not walked into either of the box traps, nor under the box trap. We don't know whether he is trap-shy, suspicious, scared by the other cats feeding there, or simply not hungry enough. He doesn't even look thin! We don't know where he finds his food. This is very frustrating, but we keep hoping we would catch him. It's really good that he is sticking around (knock on wood), however. We might use a little valerian too, which has been suggested in some web sites.

I hope you and your furry crew are doing well. Sincerely, Natalie

Whitny said...

Hi Natalie,

Oh I am so glad that you are seeing Gui. I know it will be any day now. You are putting food out every night outside of the trap right? My guess is that Gui is eating the food you are putting out and since he is full he isn't bothering to saunter into the traps. Cats are super territorial and so my guess is that he won't go anywhere even if you cut back the food. You could try not putting any food out except in the traps and sort of force him in. This is the most frustrating part. It was for us...you know the cat is alive and well but you can't get him back! I think my best suggestion is to maybe just ease up on putting food out anywhere but in the trap. Have you gotten the little motion activated camera? It might save you from having to camp out all night. Thank you so much for keeping me posted on Gui's progress. I think about your family every day. Take care...Whitny

Alexander said...

Thanks for posting your reply so quickly, Whitney! We put the food only in the traps now. We bought a camera, but installing proved so complicated, as it works only when wired, not wireless as it is supposed to (and advertised). In any case, camping out is necessary because you can't pull the string of the drop trap from inside the house even if you see who has entered it on a camera, and opening the door to run out of the house to pull the string would certainly make Gui run. We don't mind camping out if it gets Gui back. It is hard though: it's cold; hunger, fatigue and full bladders:) get to us. But you do what you have to. I think we might withhold food for a day and see if that helps. Thanks a lot again. I appreciate your concern for Gui. I love your cat pictures BTW. I have a nice picture of a monster yawn too, but I can't attach it. I have three cats and four dogs, plus two foster cats. Gui is my son's cat, but he lived with us for sometime too, so he is my "grandson":). I babysit him in my house when my son is away. Take care. Natalie

Alexander said...

Whitney, Gui is back! I caught him in the drop trap very early this morning (about 2). The relief I feel is undescribable. I never realized how horrible it is to have a missing pet. It's worse than some other things considered bad in life, like a death in the family because with a death at least there is a closure and a finality. With a missing pet, especially if you don't know whether he is suffering, there is no certainty and for many people no closure. I joined a missing cat assistance group, and there are people who are suffering with this for years, clinging to some faint hope. It's so sad. Makes you realize how critical it is to take the safety of our pets seriously: check, recheck, repair, lock them up when people are over. Gui is at my house now and my son won't get him back until he moves and I am satisfied that all the safety measures are in place in the new apartment. And even then:) We will see. Thank you again for all of your advice and for caring about our missing Gui (no longer missing, so nice!).

I really enjoy reading your blog entries on topics other than cats! You write really well. Writing is one of my topics of interest too, but it's a long story:) Thanks again. And thank your dad for me too, please! And your mom. Natalie and Gui

Whitny said...

Natalie! That is the greatest news ever! I bet you and your son are going to hibernate like bears for the next week to make up for all of the sleepless nights searching for Gui! I am sooooooooooooooo happy for you! You should write a children's book about his journey, "Gui in the Big Bad Wilds of Washington DC" .

When you get a chance could you send me a picture of Gui so I can see the little guy? [ whitny@whitnybraun.com ] Once again, I am so unbelievably happy for you. I bet Gui is even happier! :-)

Please keep in touch and thank you so much for reading my blog. I am so glad to know my stories of Buddy Lee and Harriett have helped other kitties get home.

Take care...
Whitny

Pandora said...

I loved this story. My cat has been missing for over two months and I also hired a "pet detective" with a dog and also feel like it was just some lady taking her dog for a walk. I also hired Carl Washington for a consultation and he had a lot of useful information and maps. I would have loved to have had him come up with his dog but he's too far away. I'm wondering why Annalisa Berns is still in business. Did you try to recoup any of your money or file a complaint against her? It's absolutely disgusting what she did. What if you had listened to her and stopped looking?

Scout- said...

What a interesting story!

I sensed that if I started reading this story,I would cry. I was right! My sensitivity towards animals (especially cats) is bonkers! I adore you kitty's! They're so cute! Buddy Lee is the MAN! Yes! I'm so so glad he's home with you and of course his "brothers and sisters"! Heil Buddy Lee!

BTW,did you attempt to sue that horrible lady who prey's on people?