Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Finder of the Lost

I hate being the local "finder of the lost."  I exhaust myself with worry, I go where a lot of people won't go, I sometimes dig into nasty areas, and I see some pretty gruesome sights.  Yesterday I received an e-mail from a good client, whom I've worked with/for over ten years.  First they had a dog and a cat; the dog passed away, and then it was the cat only.  The cat stays pretty much inside during the winter, but has always gone out in the afternoons when there's no snow on the ground.  The owner acquired the cat (then a kitten) at her job, more than 12 years ago, when a co-worker came inside and asked if she'd seen the kitten the crow was trying to eat in the parking lot.  The kitten had compound fractures of both hind legs, and was very much alive.  My friend took the kitten to the emergency vet, and she soon had a beautiful cat named Maggie May.
   Maggie went out, as usual, about 2 in the afternoon on Monday.  I very rarely saw her outside her own property line, other than liking to poop in the next door neighbor's flower border, which is right on the property line.  Maggie was usually sitting at the patio door by 5:30 each afternoon, waiting to be allowed back inside - and she usually had an offering for whomever opened the door. Sunday it was a baby cottontail, but usually it was a mouse or vole.  She did not come home Monday evening.  The owners waited until yesterday evening to contact me.  This morning, Darcie took her bike around the neighborhood at 7, calling for Maggie; yesterday evening, Steve, her husband, had walked the neighborhood fence lines, looking and calling for Maggie.
   I drove over there this morning and thoroughly checked their yard.  Then I went over to the nearby creek, which is currently dry, and walked the creek bed, and checked out several dens that I know belong to fox and coyotes.  No new bones outside any of the dens.  Last night, I had dreamed about Leslie Kinder's cat - she had gone missing, and I had found half of the cat in Leslie Lomas' back yard. So I walked over to Leslie's and I started quartering her yard.  Near the far back area of her yard is a low-lying spot that has a tendency to flood in heavy rains.  Leslie has made a berm of mulch around that area, so the whole yard doesn't flood.  As I approached the berm, I saw a patch of grey fur - too long to be a squirrel's.  I crossed over the berm, and found what was left of Maggie May.
  So I went to Leslie's door, told her what I had found, and got a couple of bags.  There wasn't much left - a front leg, the lower part of a hind leg, her head, one ear, the end of her tail, and, curiously, an untouched lung.  But there was fur everywhere....  (The bite marks to the skull showed coyote dentition and jaw form, and not the local bobcats, which I was afraid of.)  I picked up all the large and small pieces and 90% of the fur.  Then I went to Maggie's house, let myself in, and called Darcie.
   I left Maggie's remains inside the bags in a cooler in the garage.  Steve will bury her this afternoon.  I think the worst part was hearing Darcie sobbing on the phone, and, at the same time, thanking me. Because I gave her closure...  I cried all the way home, and am still tearing up...  It's nice to give closure, but it still hurts like hell.

No comments: