Monica Bielanko
That's What She Said
Just A Junk Drawer Dream
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I am on pins and needles. My Mom's dog is missing. Not only is Spliffy Mom's dog, he's the family dog. We picked him from a neighbor's litter when I was 16 years old. He's been with us ever since. But for the last ten years or so, he's been Mom's sidekick. Where she goes, he goes.

The Dog Whisperer tells us not to humanize our dogs, but we all do anyway. Spliff is a person. Really. We like to joke that he's a boy in a dog suit. We'll play around with the little guy, jokingly searching for the zipper to the dog suit. He's our boy.

Mom's house is in the foothills of Utah's towering mountains. When Spliff was younger he liked to chase deer, birds, really anything that moved on the mountainside. Occasionally he'd pull an all nighter, perhaps making it with a neighbor bitch then he'd trot proudly home the next morning smelling of skunk and, like a frat boy sleeping off a hangover, he'd crash for the next several hours. Now he's so old he hangs close to home. But that doesn't stop him from throwing the occasional secret dog party when his buddy Max is in town.

When I moved in with Mom while preparing to move to NYC, The Surge spent several months walking in the mountains with Spliffer and Max. It was during this time that he wrote several songs from his latest album. He's often told me those days in the mountains with just the dogs were the happiest of his life. The day The Surge and I left for NYC we took one last walk with Spliffer and Max, the two pals. Saying goodbye to the mountains and Spliff was one of the few times I've seen The Surge's eyes well up.

Mom called this morning to say Spliff has been missing since last night when she let him outside. My stomach dropped into my toes and I felt vomit climbing my throat. Aside from the death of a family member, it's the call I've been dreading. I feigned nonchalance and reassured her that, of course, he'll turn up any time.

The hours are ticking by. She's afraid he got hit and someone threw him in a trash can because they were in a hurry to get to work. "Today is trash day" she just texted, worried he's gone forever. "Nah," I texted back. "He's wearing his collar. If someone hit him they'll call. He's probably off in the mountains. He'll come home". But I just don't know. I'm sitting here with my Maxer, looking at all my Spliffy photos and feeling sick to my stomach.

Reader Comments (20)

I am so sorry! I hope he comes home soon. I feel for you being in NYC, waiting to hear word from Utah.
August 30, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterCinco Lover
That makes me want to cry and puke all at the same time :( I hope he comes home soon. I'll keep my fingers crossed for you.
August 30, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterWendi
Don't know what to say except I hope he comes home to your mom soon!
August 30, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterchrissy
Ah, I know that feeling. Happens to me whenever something happens to my boy, as minor as him puking up the raw jiffy pop popcorn as he did today.

Saying a little prayer he'll be home soon.
August 30, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterTab
OH MY GOD - that is awful...animals are always part of the family and humanized - that is how it should be. Dog Whisperer Smog Whisperer *I know, that was very mature of me*. I will be sending positive thoughts out to you, your mom, Surge and Spliff, in the hopes that he will return safe from a mere walk in the moutains.
August 30, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterRichelle
I keep checking back, hopeful for good news. Spliff and every animal like animal like him is fortunate to end up with pet owners like you and your mom...all animals should be so lucky. Here's hoping for Spliff's quick and safe return!
August 30, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterAnn
yes, me too, I hope your mom's dog will come home soon...or if it's gonna be the worst someone will call her to tell it...believe me I know what you all feel, big hug! I've just stopped crying after my seewt's been 3 month since I've lost regards!!!
August 31, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterana
I'm so sorry. My dog was missing a few times (he kept getting out of our shared yard when neighbors would leave the gage open) and it was terrifying. I still feel sick when I think about him crossing the street by himself on a busy street. I almost can't think about it , it's so upsetting.

Anyway I just wanted to say I sort of know what you might be feeling because of those expereinces. This happened to my cat too and I'm sad to say we lost him. I will pray that your mom's dog is okay and gets home immediately and safely. I love pets more than people in most cases so my heart is really going out to you and your family.
August 31, 2006 | Unregistered Commentermm
Monica, I've never posted before, but I've been reading your excellent site for the past few weeks--just had to post when I read about Spliff; I'm SO sorry, I know exactly what this is like. I've had many animals disappear for days at a time, and it's heartwrenching every single second, and nothing can distract you from the gnawing worry. Oh, it's absolutely the most horrible feeling. I wish immensly that there's a good outcome to this--as a ray of hope, I wanted to let you know that my friend's dog wandered out of his yard in the winter in Rhode Island and was found alive and well 3 weeks later (he had been stuck in a hole). So there's hope. Keep us updated if you can; we're all rooting for Spliffy.
August 31, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterKerry
Come home Spliffy. Someone in North Carolina is really wanting you to come home and sending good thoughts your way.
August 31, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterC marie
Oh, one of my worst fears is losing one of my cats. I think their timely death will be hard enough, but to lose them before their time's, I can't bear it.

I hope your boy goes home to Mom asap!
August 31, 2006 | Unregistered Commentercitywendy
Well I got this post in my email, read it, haven't had time to come and see it live, so I thought aawww I am sorry they lost their dog.
But this morning I come and look at the actual post and I have a couple of tears in my eyes! I am so sorry your dog is lost, it will come back, if only in your dreams..................
Hugs for you Monica and mama!
August 31, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterJen
TA DA! My Spliffer came home to me!Oh my gosh such relief!I drove everywhere looking for him yesterday. I called the animal hospitals thinking maybe someone had hit him and took him in. I called the dog pound and when nothing turned up, my mind went crazy thinking about trash day or that he was so old that he just went in the mountains and curled up somewhere and died, but no, I think my boy would want to be with me when it was time So, the day went by and I needed to leave for work. I had kept Monica posted throughout the day, the last message being "no news" I left the back door open so if he came home he could get in. As I was walking out I saw him running up the drive. I almost past out and sobbed like a baby, he was filthy, looking like he had been on the journey from hell. I celebrated and loved him up and called Monica to let her know the news. Well, it is now morning, I just got home from work and let him out. Like lightning he raced off the porch and down the street. Sooo, not like him anymore. He is old and barely moves around anymore. I called him and he just ignored my pleas. Well that little bastard I thought and jumped in the car to follow. He ran right to some backyard fence and proceeded to dig away at a huge hole that apparently he had started, trying to get in to a little, well, bitch, is all I can call her, she looked like a little hussy with pink bows in her ears trying to entice MY boy. Hell I didn't think the old guy still had it in him. So apparently he spent 1 1\2 days digging that damn hole. As I write this he is wimpering to go out and carry on. My boy, the Hugh Hefner of the neighborhood.
Thank you to all you wonderful, thoughtful and caring people out their. Your words of encouragement and sincere concern mean the world to me! Mama
August 31, 2006 | Unregistered Commentermama
WOO HOO he came home! I am such a loser, that is why I don't want pets, b/c they die, I just can't take the heartache! I have seen my daddy cry too many times b/c something happened to one of his bloodhounds! Guess I am too emotional!
August 31, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterJen
We're always blind to what our kids do when our backs are turned, huh? Mama, in spite of the Spliffster's moral digressions, I am so glad he's home. Give him a pat on the head or a good belly-scratching from all of us!
August 31, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterAnn
Oh my God, I think Paul McCartney had your dog...

See link below: 'McCartney loved to take spliffs'

No wait... "toke spliffs?" Oh, okay. Nevermind. But I still don't trust that wife of his.
August 31, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterWry Bri
Oh, mama, that's such good news. I was checking here frequently for updates, hoping you found him.
So glad the Spliffster is OK, that slut!
August 31, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterchrissy
I missed all the drama! But am glad the Spliff has been found. There is nothing worse than a missing pet. All those fliers taped to telephone poles break my heart.
August 31, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterAimee
I am so relieved to hear the excellent news! Spliffer is adorable.
August 31, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterTab
"the Hugh Hefner of the neighborhood" LOL

Glad he's back!!!
August 31, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterGiorgio

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