Some humans possess a genetic disposition to love dogs. Like my wife Patricia, they join humane societies, manage dog parks, and respond viscerally to lost-dog reports.
On New Year’s Eve, 2017, a vacationing young couple from Atlanta, Georgia were in the Blue Ridge Mountains resort town of Blowing Rock, North Carolina, when somehow Addie, their four-year-old, six-pound longhaired dapple dachshund ventured out into the night. As a desperate search began on the small town streets, an alarm went out on social media that caused people like my wife to take immediate action.
By the fourth search day, more than thirty volunteers encountered the dog owners and their fellow searchers in a cemetery (during a funeral) and in a ski area subdivision where Addie had been spotted. The very timid dog, however, continued to elude every attempt to catch her.
As the search continued into a second week, the owners had reluctantly returned home, but the Facebook pages devoted to Addie, as well as the barrage of texts, reported the search activities on an almost minute-by-minute basis. Day and night, “Addie’s Angels,” as the volunteers came to be called, kept faith in the hopes of saving the small elusive dog.
Emily and Charles Heuer reunited with Addie. Photo by Erin Shelnutt.
Through a snowstorm and bitter cold nights, “Addie’s Angels” remained of one heart, one mind, and one purpose. Finally, at about 7 pm on Friday, January 13th, Addie was caught in a humane trap set in the crawl space under a burned house in the suspect area. The joyous news spread quickly to the “Angels,” and their relief was often bathed in tears.
Some of “Addie’s Angels” at the clinic.
The next morning, the owner couple arrived from Atlanta to be reunited with Addie at an animal emergency clinic. About twenty of “Addie’s Angels” were on hand to greet them and to share in their reunion.
Photo by Susanna Russell
Addie’s Reception. Photo by Donna Hunsinger
One of the “Angels” arranged for the owners to have a pet-friendly hotel suite that night.
A meeting room space was also donated, and area food and beverage establishments furnished refreshments for an afternoon party to which all the volunteer searchers were invited.
The owner couple was overcome by the generosity of the mountain community, and sincere bonds of friendship were forged by the common experience of the previous two weeks.
I was merely the support person behind “Angel”searcher Patricia Joynes, but I did get to witness the reunion with Addie at the animal emergency clinic. As my wife and I talked about the emotional impact of her experience, she suggested that it could be the genesis of a poem.
And so it became:
Photo by Patricia Joynes
The Hopes of Saving Addie
A New Year’s Eve vacation
in Blowing Rock, a resort
town in the Blue Ridge Mountains,
turned desperate by the loss of Addie,
a very timid dapple dachshund.
Only four years old and six pounds,
her black and gray long-hair coat
and tan colored face would soon
appear on Facebook and on wanted posters.
Find Addie became a social media cry
and over four hundred people “liked” and “shared”
while more than fifty searched
where early volunteers had seen her
in a cemetery woods and
the crest of a ski mountain.
Into the second week of sightings
and unsuccessful chases,
the forecast of a snow storm
made Addie’s Angels fearful
for her survival against the cold
and the potential of predatory coyotes.
Small animal traps baited
with Vienna sausage and rotisserie chicken
had only caught raccoons and feral cats,
but those bonded to Addie
and to each other by the search
kept faith and continued.
The police and fire departments,
The Humane Society and Animal Control
supported the volunteers with
infrared lights and night patrols
as the second week passed.
A crawl space under a burned house
was a suspected refuge for Addie,
and so multiple traps were set.
Then the night exploded in tears
with the news of her capture,
and she was taken in her trap
to an animal emergency clinic.
Her human companions arrived
for their reunion with Addie
the next morning and found
nearly twenty of Addie’s Angels waiting
to celebrate her safe return with them.
The joy of their common thanksgiving
was monumental as the bonds
of new friendships were on display.
Some termed it supernatural
in the way Addie had brought
them together in a winter
of such American social discontent.
A tiny dog had united all factions
in a common unselfish purpose.
In those fearful days
no one was separate from
the hopes of saving Addie.
Addie with her new squeaky ball at her reunion reception. Photo by Donna Hunsinger.