Monday, August 5, 2013
About a kidnapping (actually a dognapping)!
Here is a story for you and anyone with a pet will completely understand my meltdown. Our sightseeing trip of the day was going to be the Tropic of Capricorn Monument and the day started out like most others. Get up, make coffee and let Winston out in the morning for his business. In the mornings he is usually quick because he knows he is allowed on the bed to play and maybe catch a few more zzzs with Tom. After about 15 minutes, he did not come back. There were some surfers on the beach and they said they had seen him close by but then he just disappeared. After scouring the beach and even driving to the next cove over and asking everyone we met if they had seen a Beagle including the police, the gendarmerie and the garbage collectors, we came to the conclusion that someone had kidnapped him! Pascale, one of the ladies with the surfers suggested making flyers, so in tears I downloaded a couple of photos onto a USB drive and she took them to her home to make up some copies. During the time she was gone, Tom and I continued walking the beach even crossed the busy street to go up into a housing development and calling for him. When Pascale returned, we started posting the flyers on lampposts and handing them out to people. We are offering a $1,000.00 dollar reward for his safe return. I am a basket case and can’t stop crying. Tom thinks we need to be more proactive and decides to go into town and speak with the bomberos and see if they had any ideas. He also decided to visit the local TV and radio stations and if necessary pay them to put Winston’s information and reward details on the air. In the meantime I would stay with the RV in case someone brought him back. As I waited, there were quite a few surfers and their friends who were driving around the neighborhoods to see if they could spot him. One of them came back; he thought they had seen Winston with a lady. I got in the truck and went to the housing area where they had seen the dog. His friend had an older lady by the arm and she was with a beagle on a leash. My heart sank, it wasn’t Winston. “His name is Roy” she told me. “He’s mine and I’ve had him for 5 years”. After I had assured the two guys that it wasn’t Winston and to let her go, I almost smiled. If we were in the States this lady would have been screaming for the police if someone held her against her will accusing her of dog stealing but here…the poor lady just looked at us all defiantly, muttered again “He’s mine and his name is Roy” and went on her way. Unbeknown to me, Tom was already at the TV station and they put out an alert on air, free of charge (can you believe it!) and so everyone listening knew about the North Americans and our lost Beagle and that there was a $1,000.00 reward. Then, in the afternoon I was walking the beach, again and as I turned to head back to the RV, a car pulled up, the door opened; they pushed Winston out and took off! It was crazy. The surfers and I couldn't believe it. I started to run and call his name, Winston looked a bit dazed. They could have got the reward. I would have gratefully parted with $1,000.00 just to get him back. I was so relieved. Winston was limping from a cut on his leg and was hungry but was otherwise ok. When Tom got back from town, he was totally amazed. We were going to do whatever it took to get him back even if it meant renting a house and bombarding the media with photos. We tried to come up with a plausible explanation as to why the people did not try to claim the reward but could not think of a reason. We were just so relieved to have him home. When I told Tom about the false alarm and the story of the older lady and her dog Roy, Tom said that it was just as well that he was back. He said he would have had visions of people coming with a parade of Beagles to see if any were Winston. By evening word had gotten out that he had been returned, and not only did the TV people drop by to check on him but many people from the town. After that we dared not let him out of our sight because now everyone in town (and this is a poor town) knew that Winston was worth a thousand dollars! I jokingly told Tom "Jeez, if they know you will pay that much for the dog, what's the wife worth!" "Nothing" he said "We were only going to pay that for Winston so my life would be worth living!!" We both laughed but agreed it was a close call. Joking aside, he was gone for about 7 hours and it must have taken 5 years off our lives.