From what I can remember I lost him close to 2 years ago. In that time I have gone to police and that only turned out to be another waste of time. Eventually they stopped talking to me altogether saying there were other cases that required their immediate attention. It was heartbreaking to hear, but in a way it was something I needed to hear. It was almost like the resolution I needed to hear otherwise I would never stop searching.
My family attempted to comfort me a month back, but that experience I found more hurtful than comforting. It felt degrading and in the end I felt useless. When you are struggling with something, nothing hurts more than someone stating you didn’t have a chance to begin with. With that, I cut a few ties and counted my losses before moving on.
Moving on eventually turned into actually moving. My work wasn’t doing so well since that day and being unable to pay rent for the apartment I was living in became impossible. I stayed in the same city, but got a cheaper apartment. Although, I wonder now if it would have done me good to move to another city. There was nothing here for me anymore, so why not search somewhere else? However, that took money I didn’t have; so beggars can’t be choosers.
When I started to get a grip on things once more with a fresh job, something came up. I saw him, for the briefest moments, perhaps it was in my mind, but I did see him. I ended up running through the streets towards the sight of his blonde hair, but in the end it was somebody else. I broke down their on the pavement, weeping tears that I hadn’t wept in years. Returning home was the only thing that crossed my mind, despite the fact that I was on my way to work.
I went to work that day, knowing that I couldn’t lose it all now. Later, however, I decided to soothe myself the only way anyone knew how. I went to the bar and ordered a drink that was a size larger than I’m used to and found a cosy corner. I nursed that drink for hours, so slowly and delicately that it ended up having very little effect.
Another thought did cross my mind, but for the life of me I could not remember. I didn’t want to. I went to sleep without any regrets and woke up feeling a lot better. Coping is something I had to learn and it seemed I found the formula. Being alone has never been easy for me, I knew what I had to do. I gather some money and counted off exactly what I needed for the month. To my surprise there was enough left over and I left home. Climbing into a taxi I travelled to the far-side of the city and towards my home district. There was a small building that I pictured in my mind and all I had to do was find it.
Luckily, unlike the rest of the district, the pet store didn’t change. It was surrounded by billboards and tall buildings that dwarfed the humble family store. I entered and the familiar smell of dog food and wood-shavings hit me like a force of nature. The dog food reminded me of him so much, but my heart had moved on. I wondered between the shelves of the large store, greeting the old lady who ran it on the way.
There were birds and cats, seated uncomfortably close to each other, but nobody was causing any real fuss. There were the rodents in another aisle and to be honest, I actually considered getting a gerbil for those prices. If it wasn’t for the fact I hated looking after gerbils and they gave me nothing, I would have bought one then and there.
Next, the dog aisle and it was the one I saved for last. Lizards, cats, birds and rodents could not compare to man’s best friend and seeing those delightful faces affirmed this fact in my mind. There were several breeds, but none seemed to have the same spark in their eyes that I was looking for. Most plainly ignored me, but I couldn’t help but think that I needed one.
Reaching the end of the aisle I felt tapped. My love for dogs was great and I know that if I had picked any I would have been happy. I couldn’t. There wasn’t one that was like him in any way. There wouldn’t be either. Once you have met that one-of-a-kind dog you can’t have eyes for any other. I was ready to leave, save myself some pain and money, but then I heard him.
There was a familiar bark coming from the back room of the pet store. I asked the old lady about it and she told me that was where they kept strays that needed to be checked by the vet before they could be sold. I asked her if there was a golden retriever in the back and she nodded. She asked if I had lost one and I described the dog in perfect detail. Both of us went to the back room and when I entered it felt like I had died and been reborn. There he was, so much older, beaten and dirty.
My dog leapt against the cage at the sight of me and I went to meet him. There was a brief moment of ecstacy and then it was crying again. The old woman smiled happily as the dog jumped me the moment he left the cage. There had to have been a huge amount of luck involved for the dog to have survived two years on its own and even more to have wondered by the pet store that I originally bought him from.
I went him, with a leash in hand and an old friend at my side.