Way back when… when I was just a little tyke with a Dorothy Hamill haircut and dreams of being a Hula Hoop queen (that’s another story)---Way back then, my dad used to take in all sorts of strays. My first dog, Mimmy (rhymes with Kimmy) was a mini French poodle. I loved that dog. She was yippie and liked to run in circles around my legs and didn’t argue (much) when I dressed her in my doll clothes, most of all SHE WAS ALL MINE. I don’t have any photos of her now… which really bums me out. I just have my flailing memory… lots of good that does. Then, my sister came along and we had to give Mimmy away. I’m sure there are unresolved feelings lying low in my subconscious regarding this. It’s probably why I used to hang her over the banister by her neck… probably.
Then we had Dusty, he was a big dog… a yellow lab that we dressed up with a red bandana (we broke new ground with that look…) I’m not sure how long we had Dusty… I remember coming home one day and he was getting into a truck with two strangers and when I asked my dad, he said---after a stammering fit--- that his real 'owners' came for him. (Really, Dad? After a year? Really??)
Then there was Batty---Sebastian---- but we called her Batty. She was a beautiful black/white cat. She was a keeper. Loyal and all knowing… When my mom died, she slept on top of my pillow every night and would lick away my tears. When we moved to NYC, we had to leave her with friends and she became so upset that they brought her to a vet who put her on valium until we could claim her. In NYC, she adapted to being an inside cat--something that I thought was beyond her ability because she was such a hunter (ask the hundreds of bluebirds that dive bombed her every time she left our porch.) Then, when we moved to the Catskills and she was allowed back out… she was unstoppable. She used to go down to Main Street and hang out at the cafes and look all pretty so that patrons would feed her bits of their turkey sandwiches. She became a part of the community… people knew me as ‘Batty’s owner’
Then, she just disappeared. My cat of 15 years! I had a one month old baby and a husband who was hanging out in the basement with ‘the band’ all the time. It’s safe to say that I sort of fell apart. We made so many posters… we had college kids walking the neighborhood calling out ‘Batty’, we had people taking the stage at Open Mike nights asking for any information on Batty to please come forward. It was a town wide plea.
“Lost” is a collection of Lost and found pet posters from around the world. It’s beautiful. Take these posters off the telephone poles and mailboxes and trees and place them on a page and they become art.
Lately I’ve been trying to look at --- I guess ‘life'--- at a different angle. No, not in an Anthony Robbins kind of angle… just a slight twitch… make it a little more interesting… To take these posters and give them a story. Some are heart breaking… like the ones designed by children… ‘Please, I would like him home for Xmas’
or ‘Lost Cat - His name is Piggy. He is orange and white and has 2 bumps on his ear’
or the ones that make you wonder ‘ LOST BLACK LAB -- NO COLLAR -- NO LEGS -- NEEDS MEDICINE!’
or ‘LOST CAT -- an old and toothless, orange Persian with a dandruff problem and a flat face who is an important family member. Please help us find Norman’
Or… this one:
There was one that was more of a plea for a contact with an old boyfriend:‘ David, I lost contact. Please call Deanna. If anyone knows David, pls tell him to call. I just want to know how is Bizet doing. Also, I need to give you Bizet’s medical history. Thank you.’
One that made me want to check up on the poor woman: ‘$1,000 Reward. No Questions Asked To the Person who has Teddy ( 6yr old male bichon frise). I know he is irresistibly adorable, but he is more than that to me--he is like a son. My life had been absolute torment since he disappeared. Every time I walk through my front door into an empty house my heart breaks a little more and tears stream down my face. He has been my best friend for nearly 7 years. Please bring him home.”
I guess the point is that this glimpse into people and their missing pets makes me a little more humble. Batty eventually came home. It had been a few weeks and she was missing a patch of hair the size of a baseball, but was still the same loving cat that would kiss away my tears. She didn’t venture off the porch the rest of that summer. She passed away a few years ago. It was like losing a limb.