Last summer our cat went missing. She was only 10 months old, she hadn't been using the cat flap long and so she didn't usually stray far from the back door. But then she disappeared into the garden, as usual, one day and never came home. She had a microchip and a collar, so we assumed she would be returned to us at some stage, but it never happened.
We put shout-outs on Facebook, put up posters, and we went door knocking to ask people to check their garages and sheds. Initially, we received several reports of sightings near our house in the first few days after her disappearance, but then the trail went cold. Sadly, we then assumed that we would get a call to say she had been found killed on the road.
However, that never happened either. She literally just...disappeared.
It's safe to say that we have pretty much given up hope of being reunited with our little cat and she's become one of our life's mysteries. However, when I saw the story of Renee Perry, a woman from Framingham who last week was reunited with her dog Bay - a dog who'd gone missing in June 2016, almost a full 5 years ago - it reignited my hope a tiny bit.
Bay is a basenji mix, and was just a youngster when she went missing. Just like with my cat, Bay vanished apparently into thin air - Bay's owner Renee Perry reports that there was no sign of the dog at all once she'd vanished, although Perry would drive around Framingham looking for the dog and never stopped wondering where she might be.
But then recently, a woman in Needham got in touch with Massachusetts and Needham Animal Control to explain that she was being visited once more by a dog who'd first started visiting her backyard in 2019. She said the dog was now visiting regularly and would sneak in on a fairly routine schedule. She'd captured the visits on camera after being suspicious about extra dog mess in her yard, and had thought little of it - simply that it was a local dog on the hunt for a free meal.
The animal control center got permission to set traps and after setting up a full kennel-sized trap, they were able to corral and retrieve the dog who - after microchip scanning - was revealed to be the long-missing Bay. She's been returned to her Framingham owner after receiving a clean bill of health and although Perry says Bay looks a bit different now (I mean, I guess she's older and she's had a bit of a wild life in the past 5 years!) she is, of course, delighted to be reunited with her pet.
Bay was heavier and had clearly been eating well while living an itinerant life, but she was wearing the same collar as when she went missing and she had ticks and fleas, showing that she probably had never settled in another home. She's now settling back into life with her owner, who is grateful to have the mystery solved and is giving her dog time to settle back into domestic life.
The story gives me hope for our little white cat. We've since got two more rescue kittens (to whom my daughter is entirely devoted!) but the idea of their "big sister" waltzing home one day, without a care in the world and just popping up through the cat flap with her haughty little face ready for breakfast, is an enticing one. Thanks to Bay, for perpetuating the hope.