I am on pins and needles. My Mom's dog is missing. Not only is Spliffy Mom's dog, he's the family dog. We picked him from a neighbor's litter when I was 16 years old. He's been with us ever since. But for the last ten years or so, he's been Mom's sidekick. Where she goes, he goes.
The Dog Whisperer tells us not to humanize our dogs, but we all do anyway. Spliff is a person. Really. We like to joke that he's a boy in a dog suit. We'll play around with the little guy, jokingly searching for the zipper to the dog suit. He's our boy.
Mom's house is in the foothills of Utah's towering mountains. When Spliff was younger he liked to chase deer, birds, really anything that moved on the mountainside. Occasionally he'd pull an all nighter, perhaps making it with a neighbor bitch then he'd trot proudly home the next morning smelling of skunk and, like a frat boy sleeping off a hangover, he'd crash for the next several hours. Now he's so old he hangs close to home. But that doesn't stop him from throwing the occasional secret dog party when his buddy Max is in town.
When I moved in with Mom while preparing to move to NYC, The Surge spent several months walking in the mountains with Spliffer and Max. It was during this time that he wrote several songs from his latest album. He's often told me those days in the mountains with just the dogs were the happiest of his life. The day The Surge and I left for NYC we took one last walk with Spliffer and Max, the two pals. Saying goodbye to the mountains and Spliff was one of the few times I've seen The Surge's eyes well up.
Mom called this morning to say Spliff has been missing since last night when she let him outside. My stomach dropped into my toes and I felt vomit climbing my throat. Aside from the death of a family member, it's the call I've been dreading. I feigned nonchalance and reassured her that, of course, he'll turn up any time.
The hours are ticking by. She's afraid he got hit and someone threw him in a trash can because they were in a hurry to get to work. "Today is trash day" she just texted, worried he's gone forever. "Nah," I texted back. "He's wearing his collar. If someone hit him they'll call. He's probably off in the mountains. He'll come home". But I just don't know. I'm sitting here with my Maxer, looking at all my Spliffy photos and feeling sick to my stomach.