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Cindy Lou Who Needs You

There is an amazing drama unfolding in Ottawa. You might have heard of it.

Remember a few months ago, when GC and I were looking for a dog and we had that bizarre experience with Friendly Giants Dog Rescue? Well, we didn’t lose faith in the rescue community, in part because we had the good fortune of meeting some very special dog rescue folks. One of them was Jennifer.

Jennifer is wonderful. She’s kind to animals and she’s also kind to people. She devoted herself to the rescue operation when the Paws R Us puppy mill was shut down. Six hundred dogs and puppies needed volunteers to care for them for several months. Jennifer was one of those volunteers.

While she was doing that work, she met Cindy Lou. Cindy Lou is a little Jack Russell terrier who was used as a breeder by the puppy mill. She’d had a truly miserable life, and she was a truly miserable dog. She was scared half to death by just about everything.  She was petrified of people.

Cindy Lou was too damaged emotionally to be adoptable. She would need a great deal of rehabilitation, skillfully delivered by somebody with a great deal of knowledge about damaged dogs. Jennifer took Cindy Lou home with her. Many of us followed Cindy Lou’s story through Jennifer’s Facebook status updates. I cried the first time Cindy Lou emerged voluntarily from her crate…it took her weeks to gather up the courage.

Over the months, with patient, sensitive and consistent treatment, Cindy Lou gradually came out of her shell. She  learned that people could be kind to her. She was still skittish and frightened, but she was making progress.

I’m not certain what happened, but my understanding is that a few days ago Jennifer left Cindy Lou with a babysitter for a trial visit in anticipation of an upcoming trip. Cindy Lou discovered a small hole in the babysitter’s fence, and escaped. She’s been on the run ever since. I think she’s been gone for three days and nights now.

There is an intensive search taking place. Jennifer’s extensive dog-loving network has rallied to help Jennifer and Cindy Lou. There have been a number of Cindy Lou sightings, many of them around Bruce Pit. But she’s too frightened to come to people, and she’s eluding capture.

GC and Rosie and I went to Bruce Pit last night to see if we could help. (Bruce Pit is a big wooded area where lucky dogs get to romp off-leash.) We were so impressed with how many people know the story and are trying to help. There were signs everywhere, and groups of searchers. Even the people that were just there walking their dogs knew about Cindy Lou and were watching for her.

We left when it got dark, but we saw there were still small knots of people with flashlights and crates and hotdogs (Cindy Lou loves hotdogs), waiting for her.

This morning I read The Metro while waiting for the bus, and there was Cindy Lou, in the newspaper! She’s everywhere.

Jennifer and her searchers are still out there, huddled in the rain, waiting for Cindy Lou. They think she has taken cover tonight, as  there haven’t been any sightings in the rain. But nobody’s giving up. She’s out there, and she’s probably cold and wet and scared.

Cindy Lou is no ordinary dog. She is a symbol of hope and resilience. She represents what the very best of human beings can do to fix the harm done by the very worst of human beings.  Cindy Lou was the happy ending to a very sad story.

We need to find her and bring her back home. We need a happy ending for our happy ending.

Please join the Facebook Group: Finding Cindy Lou Who . If you can, please join the search at Bruce Pit.


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