By Wick Fisher
Moose Lake Star Gazette 

Ups and downs

Wick's World


Anyone who has lived life to the fullest, lived the dream, or been a simple working stiff, a homeless panhandler or spent their entire life in a monastery has one thing in common — for each one of us, life is full of ups and downs. I’m sitting at my desk on this gloomy Sunday staring out at my back yard. Unfortunately, I have blocked off the message of Easter with a shadow of darkness trying to hide the despair I am feeling from the loss of one of this man’s best friends.

My beloved Shiatsu, Sweet Pea, went out to potty last night and never came back. This is a dog who has literally lived by my side all of her life. She is so shy she would never leave the yard without me or my wife walking her on the leash. She doesn’t go up to strangers and would never jump in a stranger’s car. I didn’t realize just how attached I was to this dog until I had to finally go to bed last night without her lying at my feet. This dog gave me so much love and joy that every moment spent with her was one of the "ups" in my life I could look forward to. Turning off the bedroom light last night was a serious downer.

Although we have tried everything we could to get Sweet Pea back home safe and sound, so far we are setting at home with her partner, Mae, awaiting a phone call I am afraid may never come. I searched every nook and cranny in the entire neighborhood with a powerful flashlight. I looked for evidence (blood, fur, tracks) of a coyote attack. We called all of the neighbors and a very kind animal control officer who tried her best to offer hope. She said that 70 percent of all lost pets in the city of Eagan are recovered safe and sound. The average time of return is four days.

That did give me a glimmer of hope, but not much. Generally some time passes before you come to the inevitable conclusion that your pet is not coming home. My half-blind Elkhound returned after going AWOL for a week when he could not find his way back home across the frozen lake. Sugar, our Siamese cat, ended up in the city pound for a week until we learned there even was such a thing in Eagan — $150 later, she was back home.

This time was different. I looked around the living room and casually asked my wife, “Did you let Sweet Pea in?”

She leapt from her chair as she replied, “No, did you?”

Sweet Pea always returned promptly after doing her outside business. She would scratch at the glass on the door letting us know she was finished. If we weren’t quick enough for her, she would give us a few loud barks.

This time there was no gap of a few hours until I got a "punch in the gut" feeling something was terribly wrong. The moment my wife answered, "No," I felt like I had been attacked with a car bomb to the heart.

Many pet owners have a familiar phrase, “Oh, she’s just like a child to us.”

Sweet Pea is not a human, she is a dog and I can relate to that familiar pet lover phrase. Although my sorrow is real to me and one of my life’s downs, I am trying to remember all the joy this little rascal has brought into my life.

I realize my loss is of a pet. I can’t even imagine a parent’s horrible feeling of loss and helplessness when a human child is abducted. As I sit at my desk worrying about Sweet Pea, I think about the nightmare those parents must go through. How do they survive the wondering? Often it’s facing the unknown that is the worst part. Will there ever be closure?

Maybe someday soon there will be a happy ending to my saga. I hope and pray there will be, but if not I must remember life has its ups and downs and this is one of those times.

I was privy to the drama that played out in Moose Lake when we all lost a little bit of our small town innocence. The one thing I could take from that abduction was Katie Poirier’s family became my heroes and role models. The courage and bravery shown by each member of that family during the absolute hardest of times allowed me to realize that no matter how great the loss and sorrow, life must go on. I want to handle all of the downs in my life the way the Poirier family handled the biggest nightmare of all. The same can be said for the Wetterling family. My heartfelt blessings go out to them and I know that Jacob Wetterling and Katie Poirier will always be remembered.

As for Sweet Pea, she may become just a small footnote in my life of ups and downs. For me she will always be a bright light that had one night of darkness.


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