If you have four legs, fins or feathers...

...you should probably leave. I have apparently invoked some severely pissed off spirit...possibly Bambi's mother vying for screen credits. Or something. And that bitch be PISSED!

I have, tattooed across my forehead in letters that humans can't see, "S.U.C.K.E.R." If you are an animal, it is neon and flashing. This has had The Institution at four dogs and six cats for the past year.

Picked up a small stray this summer, temps over 100 and no water within a quarter-mile...neighbors promptly named him Spike. Cute little mutt, but he quickly picked up a bad car-chasing habit and we came home one afternoon to a sobbing neighbor and a grease spot in the road. Damn.

Oreo, my oldest cat, finally reached the point  about three weeks ago where he couldn't fight the infections the feline leukemia kept setting him up for. Trip to the vet, in and out. Oreo currently resides in the deep freeze, waiting on me to get down to the farm and bury him.

Thanksgiving night my sister drove home in the rain to find Not My Cat, the stray she has refused to claim (but feeds and tends to) for the past four years, flattened in the road. We commiserated over our bad luck.

We had NO idea.

My parents elderly German Shepherd, Sackett, died last year. They finally found an awesome puppy, and two months ago Tell joined The Institution. Beautiful chunk of a Shepherd; smart, funny and more personality than should be legal.

Tuesday morning my mother ran over his head. I wrapped him in my jacket and sat at the vet's while they evaluated the situation. I probably should have explained the track record right then... We'll have to put him down Monday morning...we've put it off "one more day" for a week now. He may be blind. He may be brain damaged. He IS pitiful. I'll go hold him while he falls asleep.

I hate this.

Yesterday The Nice Kid, who is currently under review for a name reevaluation, decided she would take Red Dog with her into town for a picnic at the park and to pick up The Not Nice Kid. And then come home. Short simple day.

Red Dog is the luckiest I've ever gotten in a bar. Three years ago...maybe four?...I pulled into the parking lot of the liquor store (liquor store...bar...same difference) and there was a beautiful Golden Retriever, wandering in and out of the speeding cars on a Friday afternoon. Beside a six-lane highway. When I asked, turned out he had been there almost two weeks. Left the store, walked out to my car and...there sat the dog. In my car. Drove through the two adjoining neighborhoods until it got dark, stopping every block or so and opening the car door, expecting him to jump out and go home. Didn't happen. Ads in the papers. Nothing. Signs on the front door of every business within reason. Nada. He is the ultimate gentleman, well-trained, while still being the only dog on the street who has taken down the pit bull next door. Once. Didn't need twice. Red Dog must have belonged to an older person...he loves the kids but he favors older people. He lived with someone who drove a small truck, and he sat in the passenger seat. He and I have an understanding and we function well.

For some reason, known only to the brain of a 16-year-old, She-Who-Needs-A-New-Name decided to go visit her friend. They put Red Dog...WHO LIVES IN THE HOUSE...in the fenced-in back yard and promptly proceeded to forget about him. Some time later, apparently several hours later...it couldn't have been a matter of minutes because it takes a 100-pound dog a bit of time to dig out from under a fence...they realized Red Dog was gone. Lost in a neighborhood adjacent to the local university and downtown. My country dog was...lost. In town. Had been for several hours.

He still is.

The story I have is that a university cop saw a woman in a burgundy Pilot pick him up. I have already placed ads everywhere feasible...the paper, Craigslist, websites. Called the police, the pound, the university.

My dog is missing.

I have sat in the vet's office every day for five days and held a severely injured dog, dreading the day we have to admit he's not getting better. That was bad.

This sucks.

She Who Needs A New Classification texted me when it got dark last night and said, "I'm sort of afraid to come home."

I texted her back, "If you're only SORT OF afraid to come home? You're in for a big surprise."

Lord, please protect my dog.