Relief washed over him as he dialed the number, but his breath hitched in his throat when the man told him the bad news.
“I don’t know how to tell you this, but I have all the paperwork for your dog,” the man said, “…and she’s not here.” His heart sank. How was he going to tell the kids?
Steven Allen and his wife had done their research before deciding on which breed of dog to adopt. It seemed like they had thought of everything.
They factored in the size of their home, their working hours, lifestyle, their kids’ ages, and possible medical expenses. They thought they were ready for the commitment. But they didn’t know what heartache lay ahead.
Steven and Mary arrived at San Luis Obispo County Animal Services and their faces fell as they realized this was going to be an extremely tough choice.
Bowled over by all the wagging tails and happy yelps, it was hard to pick just one dog to take home. They had their hearts set on a Labrador but then saw a sad little face in the corner.
Steven was immediately drawn to the Golden Retriever. There was just something about her. She looked into Steven’s eyes pleadingly, her tail between her legs.
They didn’t have to think — they knew that Blosson was the one. They spoke to the shelter staff to try to find out Blossom’s history, and they told them something interesting.
Blossom had been found on the streets, the staff was unsure of exactly how old she was or what background she had come from.
All they knew about her was that she never barked. Even while the other dogs in the shelter were barking and yipping, Blossom didn’t make a sound. But there was one problem.
Being an older dog, Blossom had some dental issues that would need addressing. Steven knew that this could become quite pricey. And if Blossom already had issues due to her age, how many other unseen problems did she have?
Steven and Mary considered their financial position carefully before making a decision. But in the end, they always knew that they’d be taking Blossom home.
After a few weeks, Blossom had recovered from her dental surgery and had settled in beautifully. Now that her teeth were no longer in pain, she was acting like a puppy again.
Although she seemed to have some separation anxiety, she was great with their two kids and the Allens knew they had made the right choice. But they never thought Blossom’s psychological issues would cause such a problem down the road.
One year after they adopted Blossom, Steven and Mary decided that the family needed a holiday. They decided to go to Santa Margarita Lake, just a few hours’ drive away.
Mary asked her father to drop in to feed and walk Blossom over the weekend they’d be away. But she wasn’t prepared for the terrible news they’d get when they arrived.
The trip went without a hitch and Steven, Mary, and their two children settled in for a weekend of relaxation and hiking by the lake. But that evening, their peace was shattered when Mary’s dad called.
He’d gone over to their house to check on Blossom, but she was nowhere to be found. Steven’s heart fell when he heard the news – she’d never managed to escape before, let alone go missing. To make matters worse, she hadn’t been wearing a collar.
The children were inconsolable when they found out their beloved dog was missing, so Steven vowed to go back and find her.
He was just about to get into the car and drive all the way back home when his phone pinged in his pocket. It was a message on Facebook, and it was about Blossom.
Steven read the message in disbelief. It was a photo of Blossom that said “Isn’t this your dog?” underneath. Steven’s breath finally eased and his heart slowed.
Apparently, a kind neighbor had found the dog on the street, taken a photograph, and made a post on the Facebook community page. Another neighbor recognized her and messaged Steven. But his relief would be short-lived.
The woman who had taken Blossom in couldn’t keep her for long, so she’d called San Luis Obispo County Animal Services. They had fetched her and would secure her in a kennel overnight.
Steven felt like a weight had been lifted from his chest when he heard their dog was safe. The children’s tears transformed into smiles when he told his family the good news. But he had no idea this was just the first stage in an unlucky string of events.
The next morning, Steven called animal services to tell the man at the desk that he would be there to pick Blossom up on Monday morning but received the shock of his life. His breath hitched in his throat when the man told him the bad news.
“I don’t know how to tell you this, but I have all the paperwork for your dog,” the man said, “and she’s not here.” Was this some kind of sick joke?
The San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson, Grace Norris, confirmed that they had picked Blossom up on Friday, but on Saturday morning she was nowhere to be found.
“The outdoor kennel she was secured in had been cut open and she had been taken from there,” Grace said. “Just over two hours from the time she was dropped off.” Steven couldn’t believe it. How was he going to tell the kids?
After reviewing the security camera footage, Grace confirmed that someone had broken into the kennel by cutting the lock.
Sheriff’s deputies searched high and low for Blossom and interviewed everyone they saw in the area. Steven felt helpless. He hadn’t told his children that their dog was missing again, but he was beginning to lose hope.
That same night, someone called the Sherriff’s office to report that they’d seen a Golden Retriever with a strange couple near the shelter. The deputies responded, and sure enough, it was Blossom. The couple was arrested and charged with burglary, vandalism, and grand theft. Steven and his family raced home when he got the news. He said they were “very lucky to have Blossom back.”
In order to protect the privacy of those depicted, some names, locations, and identifying characteristics have been changed and are products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblances to actual events or places or persons, living or dead, are entirely coincidental.