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Sunday, May 07, 2006

Sad News About a Lost Dog

I'd seen the Lost Dog; Needs Medication postings in my neighborhood: two snapshots of a regal, 9-year-old black German shepherd named Bronja who disappeared on April 24.

I kept my eye out but never saw her.

Then in yesterday's mail came a postcard with the same pictures and the desperate owners' phone numbers.

''Please, please help us find our baby girl!'' it read.

So I called Barbara and Artie Malesci to tell them I'd be happy to post the information here on the blog. Barbara stopped me.

''It's really kind of you to call, but...''

From the tone of her voice, I knew she'd gotten bad news. A neighbor found Bronja's body floating in canal that runs through El Portal and the Upper East Side.

''We had construction going on and someone left something open,'' said Barbara, sad and weary. ''I hadn't seen her since I kissed her goodnight two weeks ago.''

She and her husband, in the film/tv production business, got Bronja when she was less than 2. Four years ago, she was the ringbearer in their wedding. They loved her like a child.

What Barbara can't understand is how Bronja ended up in the water.

''She loved to swim and was an excellent swimmer. She would throw herself into the pool. Watching her was the most life-affirming thing.''

Perhaps, she specualtes, someone hit her with a car and threw the body in the canal.

She's determined to find out what happened, even if it means consulting a pet psychic.

''I had a pet detective right in my living room, because my husband is working on CSI Miami. He had a helicopter and boats and tracking dogs, checking every canal. We put out 1,200 fliers.''

She's hoping that this posting will get to people who got the mailer - which went to everyone in their zip code - so they'll stop calling and she can stop explaining something so painful.

''People have been so sweet and caring,'' she said. ''I'm pretty blown away with how nice everyone's been.''

Their other dog, Hugo, 4, knows something's wrong.

''We're trying to be real strong for him,'' said Barbara.

Time is the only thing that makes this kind of pain decrease, and I hope that Barbara, Artie and Hugo eventually find some peace, so that their only thoughts of Bronja can be of all the love and laughs she brought them.