Yes, I am still alive. I apologize because I have not written a blog for almost three months now, and I want to thank all of you who keep visiting anyway. This last summer was a difficult, stressful time. As you know from my last blog, it began with my dog Bella getting cancer and dying quite quickly. That was June. At the end of July, my son Robbie broke his ankle. He was hiking on Mission Peak in Fremont at the time and slipped in some loose dirt. He managed to walk a mile back to his car, and for a couple of days insisted it was just sprained, before finally agreeing to go in to get it checked. (He is 25 years old, by the way. Just thought I’d throw that in, in case anybody wants to know why I didn’t make him go in sooner.)
It turned out the ankle was broken and dislocated, and that required surgery to insert a metal rod and to cinch some bones together. I had this surgery myself a few years ago, as an inpatient with IV pain relievers, but for Robbie they did it on an outpatient basis. They gave him a nerve block which didn’t wear off until long after we were home. That way they were able to get rid of him before he knew how much it would hurt. It was his right leg, so recovery was long before he was able to get out on his own, driving, walking up and down the stairs and the hills where we live.
The in August my youngest daughter’s boyfriend’s car was stolen from in front of our house. The next day, they were out driving in my daughter’s car and got in an accident. Fortunately, the kids were fine, but the car they hit was much bigger and the impact missed the bumper entirely and instead completely smashed in the hood, damaging the parts that make the car work. It was towed to our street, and then while waiting to go to the body shop, someone else hit it while it was parked!
All told, we were okay. It was unfortunate that Robbie broke his ankle, but that meant that he couldn’t drive his car, so while Johnna’s car couldn’t be driven I drove his and she drove mine. And finally Johnna’s car was fixed, as good as or better than new. Amazingly enough, Johnna’s boyfriend’s car was found also, undamaged! Robbie can now walk, and drive, and he is going back to work tomorrow. So, no permanent damage. (Well, except for medical bills…) We got through it all and life is back to normal, and now of course I think that it probably wasn’t necessary to get so stressed out about it all. And yet I did.
|Zelda, the baby.|
The other thing that happened in August is we adopted two little dogs from the Hayward Animal Shelter. Hayward Animal Shelter is a wonderful place, by the way. If you are in the area, you should certainly visit, and perhaps take a little furry person home with you. We went there to adopt a dog because Spike was so lonely after Bella died. I had also always wanted to rescue a homeless dog, but hadn’t been able to while Bella was alive, because she tended to be very territorial. And big, with a deep, booming bark that would scare the bejeezus out of a little dog even if she didn’t hurt it. In the meantime, Robbie had broken his ankle and was stuck home all the time, so Spike pretty much had 24-hour a day company. But we went ahead with the plan anyway.
There were so many dogs in the shelter, so many that I could have taken home. I honestly wasn’t looking for the cutest dog. If anything, I wanted to find a dog who needed me. There was a little girl chihuahua in the second kennel who still haunts me, just because she was so scared. But then in one kennel came the fatal stroke — a baby. She’s listed as a chihuahua, but perhaps a chi mix. Short legs, long body, dear head rather than apple head, big ears, big eyes. She is blonde, with an angel wing pattern on her shoulders in lighter blonde, with big brown eyes. She is so soft, with that puppy floppiness when you pick her up. I really honestly didn’t want a puppy, for many reasons, but we couldn’t help it. We fell in love.
|Sophia (also known as Sophie, and mama dog)|
She was in a kennel with another dog. Usually if they are grouped together it means they came into the shelter together. But we didn’t initially recognize the fact that this was the puppy’s mommy. The other dog actually looks just like her, same shape and build, but that wasn’t immediately noticeable because she was bigger, and she is jet black while the baby is blonde. But it turns out this was mommy, and we could see she had been lactating recently. As much as I wasn’t planning on getting a puppy, I even more wasn’t planning on getting multiple dogs. But I had to. I couldn’t take the baby and leave the mama there alone, probably for a long time, because with all the very many dogs there waiting to be adopted she didn’t stand out in the crowd that much. I have read that black dogs have a hard time getting adopted from shelters. I don’t know why, but that’s what they say. She had also recently had puppies. And she won my heart because was just plain sweet. While we visited, the puppy played and romped with Spike, but the mama just wanted to climb up on my lap and be loved. We had to leave them there because they had to be spayed before they could come home, and the little mama dog stood up against the bars of her kennel and gazed at us as we walked away, watched us through the glass in the door as we left. I could clearly hear her saying, “Wait! Don’t leave me!”
|Robbie had lots of company while he
was recovering from surgery.
So we have had two new dogs in our house. The baby is Zelda (after Princess Zelda, named by my daughter), and the mom is Sophia or Sophie. This is what it’s like to adopt a dog from the shelter. The morning after we brought Sophia home, I went to the bathroom and when I came back into the living room Sophia was there on there on the couch. When she caught sight of me she started wagging her tail, a thump thump thump against the back of the couch. She was just so happy to be home. Sophia has turned out to be the sweetest, most loving dog we could have ever asked for.
Of course, it’s been hard work integrating two new dogs into a household. They each had to be spayed, and they had to be kept separated because the mommy and baby play really hard with each other, and they couldn’t do that while they were healing. Having to separate them while trying to integrate them both into our home was not easy. I was so thankful when that was over. Housebreaking has been … well, unsuccessful. It seems pretty obvious to me that Sophie was not an indoor dog, both from the fact that she is not housebroken and the fact that she had this fear of going out in the back yard, and then also a fear of coming back into the house once she was out. I’m sure it’s partly my fault as well, because when they look up at me with their bright eyes and wag their tails … well, you get the picture.
As far as Michaela’s case goes, we are all still suffering from the impact of that bone that was found last year. And I mean we ALL are. Honestly, that lead should have been investigated by the police, and they should have told me when it was all over what the results were. Being raked over hot coals for months waiting for the answer was pure torture. So for me, I have left the investigators alone since then. I haven’t asked too many questions, because I don’t know if I can stand another episode like the last one. I still take leads and pass them along, but I figure if there is something I need to know they will tell me. Of course, if I ask, I know they will tell me. I just don’t really want to ask. That may be a bad thing, I don’t know, but I just don’t have the emotional energy for it right now.
The really bad thing is that is apparently isn’t just me this has impacted. I asked recently if I could use the little office at the police department that had all of Michaela’s files and evidence in it, and I was told that it had been closed. Apparently after that bone turned out not to be Michaela’s some higher up or the other at the police department informed our investigator that he couldn’t use it anymore. Apparently there was no immediate need of the room for anything else. As it was put to me, that whole thing with the bone and the speed freak killers also took a lot out of the police department. There is also a kind of musical chairs that goes on with the leadership at Hayward PD. This is a great thing is you happen to be stuck with a leader who is not good, but it also means you lose those who are, and it means that there are always new people coming in who don’t really know what’s going on. Probably most cases are opened and closed within the span of a lieutenant or captain’s tenure in a department. With cases that last for years, like Michaela’s, it is very difficult having the case be subject to scrutiny and changes in procedure every time the watch changes.
|Zelda and Spike|
It’s all discouraging and depressing. There is much I don’t know, much I don’t understand. I do know that the kind of investigation I would like to see would be very expensive. I don’t think it does much good to just call someone in and ask them questions. I mean, who is going to confess? Most people who actually give information suddenly don’t know anything once they are talking to the police. I think some good old fashioned surveillance might be helpful, as well. And I’ sure there are a lot of other investigative techniques I don’t even know about. Hey, how can I get the NSA involved?
Oh Michaela, if you are out there somewhere, could you please just let me know? Or if you know what happened to her, would you please just tell me? We really do not need leads about people who looked like the abductor. We have lots of prime suspects for the abductor and don’t have the resources to thoroughly investigate them at this point. We need hard facts, evidence, truth. We need it desperately, please, please, please!
|Zelda, Spike and Sophia out for a walk.|
In just a little over a month it will be 25 years since Michaela was kidnapped. At this point I have no idea what I will do for the anniversary. Honestly, I would just like to go quietly, as a family, to hang ribbons on the tree and remember Michaela. But you know, that is what I have wanted every year. So we will see.
Again, thank you for bearing with me, through better and worse, and even in silence. I do so appreciate all your love and support, for Michaela, for our family.
And Michaela, wherever you are, I love you forever. I like you for always. As long as I’m living, my baby you’ll be.