As I mentioned in Chuchella’s story, we had two cases. They had very different outcomes. But there was one similarity … both were missing in a strange area they did not know. Here’s Delilah’s story ….
Delilah’s mom was dog sitting for her sister. Delilah didn’t know the area. She was on the porch, secured her mom thought. After about fifteen minutes or so of leaving her on the enclosed porch – railing and gate on it – she checked on Delilah. But Delilah was nowhere to be found. She frantically ran around the neighborhood and went to neighbors, calling out Delilah’s name over and over again. She realized she needed help after looking all Friday night and Saturday. She filed her Lost Dogs of Wisconsin report Saturday evening. And they alerted us to the new case.
I was out in Sturtevant looking for Chuchella and since we had canvassed the whole area for hours, it was time to go home. That’s when the message came in about Delilah. I called the owner and told her I was on my way. She was a wreck, as any loving owner in this situation would be.
I got there and the owner was frozen in fear and terror about who, what, where, and how. She showeed me that she found one of the spindles on the porch was loose. But I also noticed they were short. The railing wasn’t high enough to keep a medium or large dog in. She could have gotten out through or over the railing. I didn’t say anything. She didn’t need me to point out that the railing was too low too. She wanted her dog back and my help was all that mattered. That would not help the situation right now to point it out. Be careful how you handle owners. They are in horror at this moment.
So, searching we went. First, we walked around and I had to remind the owner to call her, she was so worked up about it all. After walking around and listening to the woods behind the house, we got in the car. Again, I reminded the owner to call out. We drove and drove and drove around the area. Finally, it was getting dark. I left to get flashlights and came back.
On my way back to the house, I drove on the opposite side of the block while paying close attention to shining under trees, on porches, and in the woods that were behind the house. I even called out to Delilah in hopes of sending her the other way towards the house. I was on a busy state highway that had a detour going through it from another state highway being worked on, the one the house is on that she went missing from. I was so worried about her getting hit. Just as I was pulling away from the wooded area, I hear horns honk and I see cars on both sides of the road veer away from the middle of the road. Was it Delilah? I turn around and go shining some more. I see nothing. No eyes of any kind. Was it a racoon? I had no idea. I drove back and forth shining into the woods and across the street a few times. Nothing. So, I finally went to get her owner while shining properties along the way. I tell her about what happened because there was no sign of Delilah but I was concerned. We drove back and forth shining both sides of the road over and over again. With no sound or sight of anything, we finally moved on and looked around the neighborhood and surrounding area on foot and by car. We had no luck. Ok, maybe it wasn’t Delilah all that commotion was about. It happened around 7:30pm, right after it got pitch dark.
The next morning is when we got the call about Chuchella and I was out there all morning. Around 11:30am, I get a call from Delilah’s mom saying she got a tip that Delilah had been hit the night before. But no other details. She sent me the number she got the tip from and I tried and tried calling, only going to voicemail. It was frustrating. Did she make it? Did she run? If she ran, which direction? Was she just clipped? Her head or her reat? WHAT HAPPENED??????
So many qustions and no answers. I texted the tipster. It took about an hour to get a message back saying the police came and recovered her. WHAT? Alive or dead, I ask back. No response. I went and searched those woods on foot for two hours, some spent on the phone with Chuchella’s new owner and his son in the car. I zig zagged, making sure not to miss any hiding spots. Nothing. Nothing at all. I came upon the houses on the other side of the block and got the message, finally. CPD was definitely there and talked to a neighbor. Ok, home I go. I tried dispatch but they didn’t find any record of the incident. Another volunteer went to the police dept in person, they had no log of anything. I finally got ahold of Delilah’s mom, who had to work that day, and told her to call dispatch. They found the call in the log. No description of the dog but it did happen. No details.
Ok, we needed to research. I sent Delilah’s owner to the address the tipster gave us of the people who spoke with the police. They HAD to know something more. Did she make it? Where was she? WHAT HAPPENED? They knew. I should have gone to investigate. I will in every other case from now on. I had no idea was going to unfold though. I thought we’d find out she was taken to the ER or WHS. Never did I imagine that the owner was going to be told: the police officer put her in the ditch right there! And threw her collar on her dead body! When I was searching the woods, I was in back of those houses! I never thought to look in the ditch there! I went and knocked there and no one answered so I parked in the driveway of a neighbor a few houses down! I was so close … and yet so far away from her body just laying there waiting for highway to pick up on Monday! And that’s how her owner found her!
She called me in hysterics. I got hysterical. I scared my husband pretty bad how hard it hit me. He didn’t understand, I was SO CLOSE! Her owner should never have found her like that! Everyone was broken up about it. I drove to Delilah’s owner right away, after a few minutes of breaking down at home. Her BFF and her sister’s friend were already there. After some crying and hugging, she showed us her darling girl in her car. It was unbearable. Her sister’s friend and I loaded Delilah into her sister’s friend’s car. She was taking her to be privately cremated and get a memorial footprint for Delilah’s owner. She had already been laying in the ditch since 6pm the night before. We didn’t want to wait any longer. Her owner was ready to let her go after saying a last goodbye a few minutes ago anyway.
Sad. So sad. And what was it in the road in the same spot later that night if the officer already put her dead body in the ditch about an hour or so earlier? I am still so puzzled. A coyote? A …. what???? I didn’t see anything in their headlights. I will never know. She had her collar laying on her in the ditch when found by her owner. So, she couldn’t have been getting up and trying to cross the road. And we’d have seen SOMETHING if she had been hit then, I was right there and looked all over.
So many questions. But she’s at Rainbow Bridge now. She’ll be remembered forever, as the angel she is.
RIP darling angel, Delilah. You were, and are, so loved.
(A pic was unavailable at the time of this post. The post will be updated with her “Forever in our Hearts” flyer when available from LDoW. And … the police dept and I have had words and discussion about how this was handled. Things are going to change. I will make sure that this never happens again!)