When I was eleven, two girls moved into the commune with their mother, and brought their dog, Suzi, with them. Suzi was a cute, short-haired mutt with a sweet personality, and she made life so much more bearable.
Today is Suzi’s birthday, and my memory of her is bittersweet. Even though she was the other girls’ dog, she liked me and I was always playing with her – her owners being more occupied with their peers than I was (or than I was privileged to be, but that’s another story).
Us younger commune kids weren’t involved in the larger world around us that often, so it was exciting when we got to go anywhere, especially an event like the Memorial Day parade. One of the adults decided to take a group of us kids to the parade in a town we had not been to before. Our chaperone let me take Suzi, and she usually minded well, so I didn’t worry that she would wander off.
She had no leash, but did have a collar with her name on the tag, but no number to call if she was lost. Even if there were a number, it would have been from New York where Suzi had been registered.
It was an overcast day, with a steady drizzle by the time we got to the town and were walking from the lot we parked in to a spot where we could watch the parade. As we walked, I had to keep waiting for Suzi, who wanted to sniff everything, and I was soon falling behind the group I was with and feared losing them.
There were so many people and I was so scared when I looked up the street after waiting for Suzi and could no longer see anyone from my group. I called Suzi one last time and then ran to catch up, thinking that Suzi would find us by following my scent. She didn’t.
We spent about an hour after the parade searching and calling for Suzi, but couldn’t find her. We called the police and described Suzi, and because we lived in the commune where someone always needed the vehicles, we didn’t take any trips back to continue the search for her. No one even helped me put up posters, or made any real attempts to get her back.
The girls were understandably furious with me, and I was devastated. I considered her my dog as well because I spent so much time with her and I loved her.
Writing this from my adult perspective, I felt the grief of losing her all over again, and I’m still angry that no one earnestly tried to help me find Suzi. I was this powerless girl in a sea of adults who couldn’t be bothered. It might not be worthy of a Charles Dickens novel, but it was pretty close.
© seekingsearchingmeaning (aka Hermionejh) and Life On Earth’s Blog, 2010 – infinity.