On December 23, 2010, my two brothers and sisters-in-law presented me with a precious female Maltese puppy - she was 3 months old and just adorable!! A month prior to this, my 13-year old Maltese, Mali, had died and I was still in a state of extreme grief. How wonderful to have a new fur-baby to love and pamper!! My family and I brainstormed trying to find the perfect name for this wonderful Christmas gift and my niece Brandi suggested Candy Cane - that was it - it was just right for this little sweet bundle of joy!!
A few days after Christmas, Candy and I headed for my Dad's beach house in Panama City, Florida. It was meant to be a short stay but we ended up staying for eleven months. We returned home on Thanksgiving Day for our family get-together. On the 5 hour drive home, Candy mangaged to chew through her leash (I had her in a harness with her leash attached and secured to the car's seatbelt.) When we arrived home, Candy managed to jump from the car - she stayed within my eyesight and did her business but refused to come as I called her. I went inside to prepare my food for Thanksgiving - Candy stayed downstairs and I opened the door so that she could come up the stairs. I could hear her on the stairs so I knew she was okay. However, one and a half hours later, Candy suddenly went up into the backyard chasing something - there are many deer that come into our yard so I am almost certain that is what she was pursuing. My brother Charlie went up into the woods calling her over and over - it was already dark and he did not see her or hear her. All night we looked and called. I was so distraught and sad and afraid!! Because Candy had only had a week here before we left, she was unfamiliar with the area which made me even more anxious and upset! The next day I made flyers and my sisters-in-law, Debbie and Teresa, distributed them all around the neighborhood. My friend Jo Ann posted ads online and I posted one on Craigslist and the local Humane Society. Family and neighbors searched and called and of course we all drove around the neighborhood calling and whistling for Candy. We live in a "gated" neighborhood but we have lots of woods behind our home. I sent an email to all of the neighbors asking them to be on the lookout for my baby. On Sunday, a neighbor couple that I had never met searched the woods for a long time in the rain. Still no signs of her! All of these days that went by were so devastating to me - I cried more tears than I knew I had! I prayed and asked for prayers from everyone I knew. By Tuesday there was still no word or signs of Candy so my Aunt Sue and I left to go back to the beach house to do some chores and packing and close everything up. We all thought the trip would help keep my mind off of Candy. Each day I never let my faith waiver - I continued to pray and always felt in my heart that my baby would be found - safe and sound! On Friday, my aunt received a cell phone call from our Lakeview Estates neighbor who lives across the street from us - and before she answered the phone I just KNEW that it was about Candy!! And it was!! The neighbors who had searched for Candy on Sunday in the woods were across the street (trying to find my dad and I who were both out of town!) WITH a cold, shivering, dirty, skinny little pup - still wearing her pink sparkly collar and pink harness/vest! The neighbor, Adam, had been driving down John's Road and saw a little dirty white pup sitting on the side of the road - he knew immediately that it was my Candy! He pulled over, called her name, and walked toward her but she took off and was not trusting anyone! He ended up chasing her for about half a mile - he finally got close enough and threw his jacket over her and grabbed her up and drove her to our house and then took her across the street. I have so much gratitude for Adam and his wife - I will never be able to repay them for rescuing my baby!! Since I was still out of town, my brother Charlie went to the neighbor's house and took Candy back to his home. My nephew Brannon and sister-in-law Teresa found an infected place under her arm where a thorn had embedded itself. They performed "surgery" and removed the painful sticker. Brannon bathed her and they fed and watered her and cuddled and loved her. The next day they took her to the vet (my dad and I were on our way back home, of course!) The vet examined her and found that she had a scratched cornea, she weighed a whopping 5 pounds, but was not dehydrated and otherwise okay. I can't describe the relief and joy and appreciation that I had when I stopped at my brother's to be reunited with my baby!! When Teresa, put her into my arms, I cried tears of joy!! Her wagging tail and kisses of love made me the happiest girl in the world!! That baby had apparently been fending for herself out in the woods for 8 nights!! What a miracle!! What a positive outcome to show that prayer really does work!! Candy has been a bit lethargic and has had some tummy problems since she got back home but she is the same little loving, snuggling, adorable pup! Oh how I would love to know just what adventures and frightening things the poor little thing experienced!! The vet said there was no telling what she ate to keep herself alive!
I have viewed the aerial photo of the area - I wish I could estimate just how many miles my little one traveled before she ended up on John's Road which has a lot of traffic.
The important thing is that she is now safe and sound - thanks to the thoughtfulness and concern of friends and neighbors who never quit praying, looking and caring!! As for my neighbor Adam, we will visit with him soon and he will be rewarded for his heroic deed!!
I am blessed to reside in Alabama about half of the year and in Panama City Beach, Florida, the other half. I enjoy time with my family and friends. TV-watching and reading and internet browsing are also important to me. I love creating and altered art and learning from my artist friends. Life is very good!