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Lost Luna- a story about belief and controlling what you can

Luna with mom and pop

I heard the bike brakes squeal as I saw Luna come dashing toward me. I reached out to grab her harness yet she slipped through my fingers. I started running behind her, calmly telling Luna to sit and she was ok. She kept running getting faster and faster until I went around a bend on the mountain trail we were hiking and did not see her.

Luna was the blue heeler/Australian shepherd mix my partner and I had started fostering at the beginning of covid at the end of March. She came from an abusive background and when we started fostering her had tons of anxiety. She couldn’t even walk 5 minutes on a leash! She had made HUGE strides.  She now knows the commands sit and stay and as I’m typing, this is nestled into me on the couch. I thought she had reached the point she was comfortable walking off a leash on hikes.  Plus, we were in Park City, Utah and Every local, well-behaved dog walked off a leash and I wanted to prove I was a good mom.

Luna and mom

It was about 3:00 pm on September 25th when Luna bolted. After looking around an hour I decided to call my partner Reggie who was at his engineering firm. I told Reggie Luna was missing and he should come up after work. 15 minutes later he texted me he had left work and was on the way up. I had been researching and listening to everyone on ideas on how to find lost dogs. I told Reggie to bring up Luna’s pillow so she could smell her way to what we made as to the sniff station base at the bottom of the hiking trail. I also recommended he bring our sleeping bag and sweaters as it was getting cold.

Luna hugging her cousin Leona

We looked/ stayed at the sniff station until 10 pm. My mom and sister Jeanee, who I had been hiking with, stayed looking for Luna and brought us food and a tent because we weren’t leaving without Luna.

Luna at the beach in Connecticut

Over the course of the afternoon, Jeanee had posted on Ask Park City, Park City Yard Sale, and more We called the radio station, KPCW, and someone from Ask Park City had recommended a number we call to speak with a lost dog specialist. The lost dog specialist lives in San Diego and told Reggie and me, we could not sleep together that night and one person had to be where we took her out of the car and one person in the tent on the trail, which was our sniffing station. I told Reggie I would sleep in the car cause I’m smaller and could sleep in the backseat. Reggie put up the tent and brought food inside leaving open the door. We hoped Luna would come to the tent, not some wild animal! I brought the car back to the center of Park City and decided to sleep with the door open on a Friday night.  I didn’t know people still partied around covid yet there were plenty of harmless drunks walking around and trying to get in the car or close my door.

Sniff spot in Park City, Utah

Every time I woke up during the night I had “what if†pop into my head. I knew I had to trick myself into only believing positive. There was very little I could control… so I talked to Luna in my mind. I thought so positively while falling asleep that twice when I was sleeping I dreamed we found Luna! Just to wake up to the sinking sensation I was crunched in a car and Luna was missing.

The next morning both Reggie and I were up at 7 am. There was much more we could control during the day.  My mama Fruit printed out hundreds of posters for us to put up. I stayed at the sniff station telling every biker and hiker who passed about Luna and giving out my phone number. I told everyone to send energy however they believed. I believe in energy. I don’t follow any specific religious doctrine or believe they bring good into the world, yet I do believe in spiritual energy. It worked at the time of my TBI and I believed it would allow us to find Luna. I told people to send energy, I don’t care if it’s dancing, praying…just send energy as support to find Luna. Reggie started calling every animal shelter, vet, animal connected facility… After mama Fruit arrived with the posters she and Reggie left to put them up.

We all decided I am Luna’s mama, and she snuggles with me working from home every day. I am the smell she is most attached to so I needed to stay at the sniff station. It was so difficult to stay still and feel I was doing nothing to look for my baby!  Sometimes the most supportive thing you can do feels as if you are doing nothing productive at all!

Missing dog poster

We put up all the posters, kept asking around, and called the radio station to put out another alert! At 12:30 on the 26th Reggie received a call from the Wanship Animal Shelter saying they had a dog that fit the description of Luna. Jeanee called them the day before, Reggie called them earlier that morning and they had heard on the radio and saw on Facebook we were missing Luna. By that time the Facebook post had been shared over 80 times! The animal shelter actually said the dog they had that fit the description came in late Friday night, so they had the dog when Reggie called on Saturday morning yet the person Reggie talked with didn’t know. Reggie went to the animal shelter and the dog they had was our baby Luna!  Tears swelled in my eyes when I heard our Luna was in Reggie’s car!

Luna sleeping with mom (both sound asleep)

I had made a few vows that sleepless night. One was how much I value family. My mama, Fruit, and Jeanee are families, Reggie is family, and Luna is family. The only person who needs to know I am a good mom is myself. No one else’s opinion matters. The person whose opinion matters the most in these situations besides your opinion is the person you chose to be your partner. During the whole 22 hours my partner, Reggie never let out a word condemning me. I had taken off Luna’s leash. I had been the one to lose her. There were a few times when I wanted to apologize and berate myself. Reggie would respond by saying a phenomenal motivational speaker he knows tells the audience that pointing blame and condemning at the time of trauma does absolutely nothing to control the luck in the outcome. He would then give me a kiss and say “babe, that speaker is you and I think you need to take your own advice”.

Take my own advice. That’s what I did during this escapade with my lost Luna. I speak on the value of support, so I reached out to receive as much support as possible. I speak on the power of belief.  It was so easy at night when I was alone, uncomfortable and scared to think about “what if ” yet every time a “what if ” came into my mind I replaced it sending love and energy to Luna, talking to her, and playing movies in my mind of her return.

I speak about living in the present moment and controlling what you currently are able to control that day. What we desperately wanted was Luna, yet pining over the result accomplished nothing. So each person did what they could control.  Sometimes the best support you can control feels like you are accomplishing nothing, like me sitting at the sniff station, yet if that is the best support then that is what you need to do. A big piece of advice I struggle with on a daily basis is doing what is best regardless of others’ opinions.  I have been judged as a competitor my entire life and always strive to be the high performer at the top of everyone’s list of the best.

So the piece of advice I am taking away from this experience is if I think I am the best mom to Luna I need to trust that and hold true to my decisions not bend my course of action because I want to please everyone.  Taking Luna off a leash to prove I am a good mom is unnecessary and backward. Luna has triggered by her past. Being a good mom to Luna is keeping her on a leash and going on adventures!

Luna and Granny and Leona the day Luna was found

We didn’t know Luna’s birthday but knew it was sometime in the fall. She turned 2 sometime in the fall of 2020, so we dubbed September 26th, the day we got Luna back as her birthday. On Friday, a week after the fateful Friday night we celebrated Luna’s birthday.  We burned all the posters we had made of her missing, we ate a roast chicken and gave a lot of it to all the dogs, Luna got some presents from Jeanee and Granny, and we ended the chapter on a trauma that had a successful, “lucky” outcome from all the steps we took after Luna disappeared from view around the corner.

Burning the posters of missing Luna