As I stood in our hotel room gazing into the large, searching eyes of my female Greyhound, Kazi, I felt numb. She lay on a dog bed that my husband and I had brought in case we were lucky. You see, we had just spent the last two days in a search for her, one that at times had seemed hopeless. To be able to be in the same room with her right now felt unreal. All the possible outcomes of the past days swirled through my mind. How this experience had ended this way was just short of a miracle. We had her back, unharmed; yet we stood in that room in a state of blissful shock.
It had been a glorious fall morning the day it began, perfect for an outing. My husband and I had been searching for the ideal dining room set for many months, and so we decided to go on a shopping trip. Our Greyhounds, although not in need of a table but loving a ride, begged to come along. Jumping into the back of our van without hesitation and curling up on their favorite travel beds, they were ready for adventure.
We headed out for our day of shopping, and traveled south on the Eastern Shore of Virginia, a beautiful and unspoiled area located between the Atlantic Ocean and the Chesapeake Bay. We enjoyed traveling this stretch of road where the fields of soy beans, corn and cotton were abundant in the fall, where old buildings were untouched and repurposed, and where crepe myrtles lined the rustic highway. It brought peace to our souls and was the reason we had chosen to relocate here.
Soon we came to the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel, an expanse of 18 miles of aquamarine water and steel blue sky. This beauty and tranquility ended abruptly as we crossed the bridge into Virginia Beach, a bustling city of wide streets filled with speeding cars—many, many cars.
We got into the rhythm of the streets with their endless traffic lights and made our way to the store. Our sweet Greyhounds slept the entire trip and only raised their heads when we stopped at a red light or made a turn. We arrived at the furniture store ready to do some heavy shopping, and this is where our story takes a horrifying turn, unexpected but ultimately uplifting.
We parked, got out of our van, and checked to see that our dogs were settled in the back. All seemed well so we moved into the store in anticipation of ferreting out something perfect for our home. After finding what we thought would work for us, and while discussing the details with the salesperson, an announcement came over the loudspeaker. It seemed that something had happened regarding our van.
When I looked out of the front window of the store, my heart sank. My husband, who had run out before me, was already speaking to a person who had witnessed the incident. There were people hovering around the car speaking in low tones as I ran to see what had happened. The back of the van was standing open, the mouth of a giant cave but with no animals inside taking shelter. Our dogs were gone. I took in the scene: my husband was talking to a bystander, and Rusty, our male Greyhound, was being held by a stranger. I approached the person restraining my dog, thanking him, and asking what had happened.
It seemed that for no apparent reason, the hatch on the back of the van had opened, its great metal jaws beckoning the outside. The dogs, confused, and seeing no one, jumped out. Rusty, thinking a treat was in the offing approached a stranger who grabbed his collar. As this person went to grab Kazi, she bolted. But where had she gone?