Monday, October 1, 2012

Desperately Seeking Tula: Under a full moon

Flier for Tula kindly created by Menelaos Toumazatos

At a taverna perched on the stratospheric slope of a mountain in southern Kefalonia, I kept one eye on the glowing gold that a round, fat, self-satisfied moon was busily gushing all over Greece's Ionian Sea, and showed the waiter a flier bearing a photo of Tula.

Recently a tourist couple fell in love with the English pointer while on holiday there in the Old Skala area, I explained. The wandering dog was emaciated and seemed to have been mistreated. The couple fed, nurtured, and named her. They tried to arrange to take her home with them, but weren’t able to get the information they needed in time.

Now, back in Italy, they can’t stop thinking about her, and they wish to adopt her, if only she can be found.

The waiter studied the photo. "I just saw this dog half an hour ago--or at least one that looks like her--trotting by. She's been roaming around here for about a month."

I gave him and the taverna owner the flier with Tula's photo and the relevant telephone numbers, and asked if they'd please phone us right away if they see her again. Also I asked them to please tell other residents in the area that we would like to find the dog, and to remind them that her would-be adopters are offering a reward.
At each of the occupied tables, I passed out copies of the fliers and asked the patrons to please keep an eye out for Tula. The folks at one of the tables, about eight tourists from England, said they will be staying in the area for another three weeks, and that they would like very much to help find her. If they see her, they vowed, they'll try to round her up and keep her until we can get there to pick her up.
Driving up the eerily moonlit mountain, on a narrow track past mounds of rocks that might have been dozing monsters and twisted trees as wispy as wraiths, I stopped a few times to shake a container of dog kibble, and call out in an enticing voice, "Doggie? Tula doggie?  You have friends who miss you. Where are you, sweet girl?"

The only answer was the whisper of the wind.

Eventually I came upon the villa where the Italian couple had stayed. It loomed like a castle, large and lofty, at the end of a drive steep enough to deter pirates or anyone looking for a lost dog... almost.

"Hello?" I ventured, after hearing laughter from somewhere within.

The remote villa's current guests, a pleasant couple from Switzerland, said that someone else, probably my fellow volunteer who is also searching for Tula, had come by earlier in the day. They promised that if the pretty pointer should show up, they will try to lure and confine her until we can make it there.

On the way back downhill, I attached about eight copies of the signs to telephone poles. Now I harbor a profound hatred for the brown plastic tape that comes on those large rolls and was apparently designed by a sadist to hide the leading end of the tape so well you'll never find it, and to stick to your fingers, sleeve, and everything but the thing you're trying to tape, and to contort itself so that the sticky side is usually unavailable.

It's supposed to rain tomorrow so the signs will probably fall apart.

If I can I’ll go later in the week to look again for Tula on that strange mountain that's like the edge of the world—perfectly appropriate in the search for a dog whose life, perhaps, also hangs on the edge.

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