I had the most beautiful dream last night. I dreamt that I was driving home from my parent's house and there, by the side of the road, was my sweet Cera dog. I dreamt that I opened the door of the car and she jumped into the car and I brought her home. The dream was so real and vivid. I could feel her fur, that silky coarse German Shepherd fur...I could feel the weight of her leaning into me, draping her head over my shoulder in her distinctive puppy hug.
In the dream, I brought her home to my new place...And the whole ride home she stood in the back seat with her head on my shoulder while I was driving. Just the way she always had. When I woke up, I could still feel her fur in my fingers, and the weight of her leaning against me. And then, as I became more aware, there was the sick feeling in the hollow of my stomach. Cera is gone, and has been since March.
During the first dreadful chaos that followed the break up, my six year old German Shepherd/Chow mix that had been with us since she was only 9 weeks old, went missing. I lived in the middle of nowhere on a mountain. I was living in the small guest house on the same plot of land as my parent's house. We lived on over 90 acres of wilderness. Our neighbors, such as they were, lived up the same mile long dirt road we did. None of us have fences or anything like that, and our dogs have always had the run of the mountain. Cera loved it. She was always exploring, coming back to check in and then heading off again in search of adventure.
The first night Cera didn't come back at bedtime I was only a little worried, because while it was rare for her to not come back at bedtime, it wasn't unheard of. But when she still wasn't there when I came home from my daughter's softball game, I began to get very scared. I called the neighbors, asking if anyone had seen her...I called the shelter and the local vet offices. I was worried but sure she'd turn up soon. I made up fliers and my daughter and I drove all over our area putting them up and driving up and down the tiny dirt roads along the canyon. We knocked on doors and looked in ditches and called out to her over and over again.
There were a few calls in those first days. Vague sightings that could have been from before she went missing. Nothing concrete. I berated myself for putting off microchipping her, though truthfully, I don't think anyone found her and turned her in to a vet or shelter. I called all the shelters within a 150 mile radius, and faxed endless fliers to endless vet's offices. No one has seen Cera. And they would remember Cera. There aren't many all black German Shepherds with purple splotched Chow tongues who are missing their right front leg. She would have been recognizable. I still troll the shelter websites, calling on any black German Shepherd mixes listed, even when I've seen the picture and know in my heart that it's not her. Even worse is when there is no picture, only a short description and I actually begin to hope, only to be told, yet again, that the dog in the shelter is not my dog.
I keep meaning to write a fitting memorial for my beautiful girl. But I can't bring myself to do it. To do so would be to admit that she truly is gone and is never coming home, and I am not ready to admit that. Better for the time being to hope that someone out there has her, that she's safe and sound tonight with a family that is looking for her rightful family and they're giving her love and keeping her belly full until the day that we can be reunited.
Sweet dreams, my Cera girl...until we meet again...