White Dog was stunned into silence. Just what do you say at a time like this?
When we got the call from Jesse early this morning we ran to the computer and immediately began posting for help. "Albuquerque area friends please help Remus find his way home. A black miniature Schnauzer, Remus is chipped and wearing a red collar with tags. He lives in the Placitas area and has been missing since before 6pm last night. Be on the look out and share! If you spot him, call..." There were people that we knew out all night searching for him, including his human parents and his littermate, silver Romulus.
We have known these two Schaus since White Dog was a puppy. They trained together and learned their first social skills as part of the same group of dog lovers. Their parents are indulgent, caring, and incredibly responsible.
They were out running errands. Their house, like ours, has a dog door and a yard with a high block wall. They are guessing the wind blew the gate open at the back of the yard. Both boys are well trained and seniors, neither would be likely to just go for a stroll...When they returned Remus was gone and Romulus was in the house, quaking...
Here we prayed that Remus had not been taken, dogknapped. It was just too strange that he should suddenly go missing and not come when called as his parents canvassed the neighborhood. All day, our friend and his family were on our mind and we asked the Universe to send him home safely.
When Jesse called late this afternoon, the entire White Dog Army crowded around me hoping to hear the sounds of good news. Instead our friend and WD's one-time trainer was sobbing...and as she told the story I instinctively wrapped my arms protectively around the closest White Dogs.
The family walked the entire area for miles with whistles, calling their boy, with Romulus in tow to help in the search. Neighbors and friends joined the hunt and posted fliers. The effort began almost immediately after Remus disappeared and did not let up.
Remus and Romulus live in a beautiful home that backs the Wilderness Area. They have a 10' high block wall around the yard. Out of the gate at the back of the yard lies what is still truly wilderness, ruled by hawks, snakes, cougars, bears, and yes...coyotes.
What must have happened, as the heartbroken community tries to piece together events is that a decoy coyote must have approached the open gate luring Remus close in an attempt to protect his brother and home. A few hundred yards beyond the yard was found the site of a a bloody attack but not enough information to tell the story. Coyote packs let the decoy distract the prey into their circle before attacking as a unit. A second gorier and more compelling site was found closer to the arroyo not far away.
I cannot imagine how Remus' dad, who made the initial discovery, felt. No one had the stomach to search further for Remus' collar or in the hopes of finding identifiable body parts. But the size of the site and the timing seem to pretty conclusively suggest that our friend has crossed the Bridge.
We are horrified but understand that coyotes have been systematically pushed off of their territories and that their normal prey has been eliminated as the area becomes more populous. Forced to live side-by-side with humans and our ways, coyotes have lost their natural fear of people and are bold. We stand adamantly against the "sport" of coyote kills. But we cannot help but curse the pack that saw our friend as food and not as a gentle friendly boy who knew 18 tricks, could do the weave poles faster than any pup, and who was merely trying to keep his brother safe. Remus did not deserve this death.
All this evening I have not been able to help randomly pulling a warm bundle of White Floof close to bury my face in the soft fur, whisper "I Love You," and to cry for the grieving ache that fill the hearts Remus' family. I wish the serious black boy peace and hope that his release was quick.