Markey is alive.
It was horrible. We were very active in the search and trap efforts, but he alluded everyone. I was so sure he would smell us and as it got colder, as it started to snow, he would want the safety he remembered from our home.
That didn’t happen.
Even after over a foot of snow was on the ground, I went out to the forest where he was last seen. I post-holed through miles of crisscross trail mostly used by hunters. I got excited at random tracks. And went home let down every time, with no sighting.
I have never felt such a depressing, drag you down, hope since I was in high school. That horribly wrong and desperate hope I’d get after a semi-descent conversation with my crush at some party but then he’d ignore me for weeks in school afterwards. I just knew we were meant to be and had a shared something special and it just HAD to mean something to him as well.
(Side note: As somewhat of a tee-totaler until my mid-20’s, I can now answer my teenage self that my crushes were likely stoned or drunk and didn’t remember our amazingly, special conversation the next day. Also, thank god I didn’t blog then.)
I finally could not take the weight of the search. It became too cold. It snowed more. The outcome was pretty evident.
I’m the one that requested we foster Brandi. I needed to move on and have another animal to help and focus on.
Spring came. Brandi Left. And word got to the Humane Society of a limping, skittish, Sheltie being fed by an old lady roughly 12 miles north of where Markey made his escape.
We went. We talked to the lady. We sat in our car. We watched.
It was him. It IS him.
I started this story several times back then. Again, I was so sure we would catch him. He would sense our presence and good intentions.
After a few weeks, I gave up on that. Then I was so sure we would catch him because he is very food motivated.
Tom has gone through three trap designs.
It has been over a month since we last watched Markey come down the old lady’s drive. That day, the old lady came and told us she does not want him caught. She thinks he is very happy (true) and that if he dies in the woods it was meant to be (not true). Her son-in-law called the next day to express his sympathy and opinion that we were trying to do the right thing, but that we were not welcome on any of their property. Including the drive we had been previously baiting to lure Markey over the road to the trapping location (where we have permission from the owner).
The kittens have kept me busy and not too sad by not thinking about it. And being banned from her property does not mean we will give up or that we’ve run out of options. We need to re-group, re-assess. We want a solid plan when we do go back as we know we’re not wanted in the area.
This story still does not have an end. Writing it has made me feel a little sick. I’ve sank into a depression twice over Markey and I’m not sure my health or my work can absorb another low point of constant drinking, sleeping, eating, and TV binging.
I snapped out of the last one just weeks before we were banned from the property. I became proactive with the longer summer nights. I had re-committed to going out to the property and started leaving my shoes outside the car. I am sure, just as teenage me was sure of the turning-point-conversations, that Markey smelled me and had started coming closer and closer.
I also took the opportunity to take photos of him. Even a little video. It may be all I ever get. I am trying to decide if that will be enough.
For now, Markey is alive. We don’t get everything we want in our lives. Hopefully we get everything we need. Markey feels like a need right now.