I turned circles on myself and called louder. Knowing he probably couldn’t hear me or see me didn’t deter me from trying. As the minutes ticked by, I felt disbelief rise in my chest. I looked around frantically and realized I wasn’t seeing anything; everything was just a blur.
It was 23 degrees outside. George wouldn’t survive in the cold for very long. My disbelief turned to a calm resolve; I felt certain that someone had picked him up and taken him in. But how did I miss it?! I couldn’t make sense of it.
After an hour and a half, I knew I had to go home. There was a subtle peace in my heart which allowed me to accept that being there any longer would not be productive.
The next morning I was up by five am and returned to the place I’d last seen him. I spent two more hours driving slowly, walking the grounds, and calling his name. I looked under bushes and behind piles of snow and any other shelter I could find. No George. I somehow knew it was futile because in my heart, I knew he wasn’t there. But where was he??
I went home and made fliers. I filed a report on the local radio station’s website. By that evening, the calm in my stomach changed to a different kind of calm; I started to think that perhaps George had simply wandered off from me to die.
On Monday morning, I went to the local animal shelters and placed the fliers all over town. Then, Monday afternoon, I got the call: a young couple saw one of my fliers and called me immediately! They had been caring for George the whole time! According to the timeline they gave me, while I was under the first bush looking for George, he apparently crossed a street and was standing in front of their apartment just as they were coming home. They picked him up and took him inside. He was only out in the cold for less than 10 minutes from when he and I got out of the car to when they found him.
I was so grateful for their kindness that I was speechless. When I took him home, he went straight to bed and didn’t want to get up until the next morning! I think he was emotionally exhausted.
Things are back to normal now. And to make things even better, the weather is starting to show signs of spring. We got up to 40 degrees yesterday and are expecting to be in the 50s by this weekend!