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Days pass, dark, wet, dreary . . . then life anew . . .

The next morning left me limp and in the depths of depression, from the God-awful weather - cold, endless rain pouring down - she was having to endure, and from seeing her the day before, but being unable to get her to come to me. Nevertheless, I still harbored some hope that if I could get close, and if she would look at me, she would come. But the chances of seeing her again myself, and doing that, were extremely improbable. I was convinced that she had to have heard me calling upon one or more occasions, and was too terrorized and disoriented to come. And every additional day that passed brought more jeopardy for her. It rapidly and clearly loomed that our best chances at this point of getting her safely home before something terrible happened, and we never would, was to try and live trap her, as I was now convinced to try, and a number of others had suggested. But to do that, you had to have some incidence of pattern, on where to set the traps.

Regardless, best guess, we had to try, NOW. I had several live traps, but none large enough, so I immediately ordered a suitable one from Tomahawk, paid for next day delivery, with intent of setting it then on the ridge behind the cow pasture. However, severe and icy weather across the Mid-West delayed delivery for an extra day. Crucial time lost. Hopefully, she was still alive. Could survive, until I could try.

Another raw, cold, rainy day and night passed, remaining relentless into the day after, until finally a small break that second mid-afternoon. If she prayerfully had remained holed up until then, she might move, try to find food.

I had continued to ride the roads throughout, watching, hoping to see her, had not. When the afternoon break in the rain came the second day, I had left that morning, and was already in the big woods behind the cow pasture with Halle, our English cocker and Edie's kennel mate, walking the whole block, hoping that Halle could find her if she were still back there, and that if she wouldn't come to me she would come to Halle. But after several hours, we had found nothing. All the wet weather branches, normally only a hop across, were swollen and thigh deep from all the rain. We were worn out, had covered all the block we could by 4:15 p.m., were headed back to the 4-wheeler which I had left in the woods at our departure point, when my cell rang. It was my daughter, Melanie, anxious and urgent, calling to tell me that the residents of the house at the northern end of the cow pasture had just gotten home, and driving in, had seen Edie in the pasture again, by their house, but that her reaction had been the same, to turn and run. Back across the cow pasture, across the bottom, and back into the woods at the ridge! Watching her go in, it appeared she was headed int he woods toward the opposite end of the pasture, toward the very farm I was on at the time. They (my daughter, son-in-law, and granddaughter) were already headed there to try and intercept her, with my granddaughter calling, hoping Edie might come to her. Halle and I ran a good distance to the 4-wheeler, jumped on, and sped to meet them, getting there just shortly after they did. We never saw her. Quit calling, backed out, though it was a very hard thing to do, fearing our further presence might push her out of the block. We needed her to stay in there a little longer,if indeed she was holding tentatively there, or at least passing through irregularly, if at all possible.

After a half-hour though, in desperation and afterthought, Halle and I went back to where she had entered the woods behind the cow pasture, and tried to track her. I forced myself to remain totally silent, did not call at all, at any time. Halle picked up the trail at one point, I thought, got all excited, but could not carry it to completion though we continued long after dark, getting home about midnight.

Another opportunity lost, it was a hard, trying time. That night the rain pounded the roof all over again, would not quit. Hope was wave-tossed and torn.

All the many prayers going up from so many people, and we got this, days on end of raw, cruel cold and soaking rain. No let-up. Truth be told, I was pretty put out with God at that point, trying to hold to faith.

But she was STILL ALIVE AND SURVIVING! At least that afternoon, though with every hour that passed there was no warranty on how long.

But one other good thing: also while Halle and I were in the woods searching, a good friend from the eastern part of the state had called, was sending his farm manager up the next day with five more large live traps. "Six are better than one," he said, and, he, of course, was 100% right. Thank God again for dear friends, who understand, not only care, but do something about it. I thanked him inadequately, but best I could.

The next afternoon in the rain, which was not supposed to relent until two days later, on Sunday, February the 24th, we would get the traps out. Do something active and of greater strategy that might make the difference, when you were about at wit's end and not knowing what more to do. Other than wait for the phone to ring again, which seemed only to bring frustration.

Tomorrow: a small, short window of chance, we had, I truly felt, at gut-level, before it was too late . . .

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