July 2nd, 2009
Our dog is missing. He disappeared two days ago, but we weren’t told until six this morning. Sounds like an odd statement, except that he lives with my in-laws out in the countryside where he has space to run around and be a dog. Keeping a dog in a city apartment always seemed a bit cruel to me.
So the day before yesterday Zaizai disappeared. My parents in law went out looking for him, but couldn’t find him. We have no idea what happened or where he is, and if any of the neighbours no, they aren’t telling.
My wife, who has spent most of the morning in tears, but managed to get herself together and head off to work just a few minutes ago (I waited until she left before even finding that photo, let alone starting to write, no need to upset her even more), said that she wouldn’t mind so much if somebody decided he was cute and took him home to raise him. That wouldn’t be so bad, as somebody would be taking care of him. Hey, it’s happened before. One Spring Festival a couple of years ago, we were visiting Lao Gu and Lao Gufu who live in the county town, my brother in law (who is still slowly, slowly learning “responsibility”) arrived with Zaizai in tow. Zaizai had followed him to the bus stop, and so Didi rather stupidly took him on the bus and brought him into the county town. To make matters worse, when he left, he took Zaizai with him, then lost track of him for a few minutes- just enough time for a neighbour to see him and take him home. Fortunately it didn’t take us long to find him and claim him back. See, Zaizai’s always been very friendly and just a tad mischievous, so it wouldn’t surprise me if somebody visiting from outside the village saw him, liked the look of him, put him in their car and took off. Apart from when we bought him and that one trip into the county town, his world has been limited to the village, and car (or bengbengche, at least) trips have been out to the fields or orchards then back home. There’s no way he could understand that jumping in somebody’s car for a bit of fun could end up with him hundreds of kilometres from home.
And if somebody did take him away, there’s always the hope he’d pull a Lassie and run back home. Despite his friendliness and mischievous streak, he knows where home is and who is family are.
But there’s all those what ifs. He’s unlikely to have been hit by a car in the village, as the roads are too narrow and cars too slow. He’s unlikely to have gone to the highway or the road along the base of the mountains alone. But those are possibilities.
But there’s worse, and the worse has precedent. Rural China can be a rather brutal place. Years ago, long before I came on the scene, lzh’s family had a donkey. One day Ba took it out to the orchard and left it to graze while he went to work. When he came back, the donkey was dead. Somebody had come across the donkey left unattended and, knowing who it belonged to, bludgeoned it to death with a hammer or some similar blunt instrument. And for no more reason than which family the donkey belonged to.
Zaizai enjoys a fair amount of popularity in the village, and the number of puppies running around with his big, floppy ears is testament to at least one aspect of that popularity, but a lot of the people in the village love him, too. But he’s also acquired a certain measure of notoriety in certain circles, and has come home with mysteriously acquired injuries before.
算了，别瞎想了。There are too many possibilities, too few answers, and nothing we can do about it except hope.