If you have a sibling, a dog or a person in your life who you love, keep reading.
I am about to tell you a story that doesn't have an ending. Which is frustrating, we as humans want everything to have a beginning, a middle and an end. But perhaps someone out there- one of YOU can help write the ending to this story.
My sister and her boyfriend adopted Uncle Muscles this past winter. He's an Australian Cattle Dog or a 'red-heeler' he didn't have the best life prior to his adoption. Muscles had been forgotten, abused, not fed, you name it- it probably happened to him. He was found by the rescue center, in the woods.
Mt. Pleasant, Michigan became a nice little spot for Uncle Muscles, he was cuddled, fed, warm, got to go on lots of walks, paid attention to and love on by two people who really love unconditionally.
One of those two is my sister, Egan. Egan, the actual saint among us. The one who has had a connection with animals and kids since the day she was born. Every animal on planet earth loves Egan, and every kid on earth loves Egan. She has a way, a special energy, that somehow makes everyone feel safe. Muscles reacted to my sister's super powers the way most of us do- he fell instantly in love.
Good old Uncle Muscles, he isn't without his faults. He's a bit timid and doesn't really care for other dogs. He's totally fine with just the world consisting of Egan, him and Robert. He spooks easily & has moments where is can be a bit moody. But he's so sweet. So so sweet. And harmless. And so cool. Uncle Muscles is a bad ass.
So, on May 8th after months of training and preparation my sister dropped off Uncle Muscles & Robert on the Appalachian Trail.
Last year Robert had hiked a section of the trail so they started at Standing Bear Hostel and headed Northbound, just outside of Hartford, Tennessee. Hours later, near Max Patch NC while Robert was filling a water bottle, a friend was holding Muscles leash and slipped and fell down a steep hill, it startled Muscles, he was scared, it was loud & spooked him, he saw no way to fix it other than to run.
Uncle Muscles took off wearing a bright orange hiking pack, a collar with his tags and a grey and black braided leash.
Back in Petoskey, I knew something was up with Egan. I told M & my Mom on Sunday night something had happened. My mom said Egan had mentioned she wasn't feeling well. But my gut told me differently. The thing with Egan is, I feel exactly what she's feeling. When she's sad, I'm sad, and something didn't feel right.
Egan waited to tell us because she didn't want to ruin Mother's Day. She then informed us she was driving down to Tennessee the next morning to help look for him. The search was on.
Last night, after 10 days of searching my sister and Robert came home. 10 days is a long time people. For 10 full days they searched sun up to sun down, they camped in the exact area he went missing. They went opposite directions, left Egan's clothes all over the trail for smell, followed a false lead to Johnson City, TN & printed thousands of flyers and pasted them everywhere.
And that's it. There is no ending. Sure, there are plenty of scenarios that could have played out. A few of you are shaking your heads at the computer screen thinking he probably was bear food. But we don't think so, Egan and Robert spent 10 days combing every inch of the area, no sign of the pack, not a shred of leash, not even anything that was inside his pack. It's bright orange, pretty visible. When they began approaching local police stations and animal shelters we learned some startling information, dogs are taken off the trail systems in this country pretty regularly.
Egan and Robert firmly believe that someone has Uncle Muscles. Remember how cool I said he was? Muscles could very well be hiking with another group at this point. Cuddling up to some girl with curly brown hair that looks like Egan. That girl will hopefully come to a point when she realizes that another curly-haired girl probably misses her dog, and she'll call the number on his collar when she gets cell service. Or someone could have just stolen him. Gone home the hero. Take off the pack, and the tag and brought home a brand new dog, "I wanted to surprise you honey, isn't he awesome?"
Here is where you come in. You see, I don't have much to offer except my unending gratitude to anyone who can help. I've e-mailed 97 vets and animal shelters within the area. I've posted on Appalachian Trail threads and message boards. I've searched Craigslist high and low for someone trying to sell him.
Do you know someone who lives near Hartford TN? Max Patch area of North Carolina? Near Asheville NC? Do you know someone who is hiking the Appalachian Trail this summer? Do you know someone who is a day hiker in the AT system? No? Ok. I bet you know someone who knows someone who falls into one of these categories. So please, forward this link, post it on your Facebook. E-mail that friend from college who you're pretty sure their parents live nearby there....
Working in News, I've learned first hand how small the universe is. How quickly something can spread and help solve something. How many of us are connected and know someone who can help. This experience has also taught me how awesome our circle of friends and family are. So many of you have helped so much already, thank you.
In the end, I'm doing this all because my sister Egan is the world's most incredible human. She loves this dog endlessly and I am CONVINCED he is trying to make it home to her. Heck, if I was scared, Egan's house is the first place I'd try to get to. She would give the shirt off her back to anyone reading this & all she wants, is to cuddle her pup again. So please- if you can do something to help- let's bring Muscles home.
A few notes: There is a $1,000 cash reward for Uncle Muscles safe return home. He IS microchipped. Yes, I had Egan's permission to write about this. I am offering free event flowers to anyone who reads this blog & is the missing link that helps us find this dog, its a $2,000 value- you pick the location. So there it is. I've given it all I got. I've used my most 'Kiki' skills to help bring Muscles home. I've blurted it on social media, talked about it non stop, made a million phone calls and offered flowers.
At the end of the day, I'm just a girl who loves her sister more than anything in this world..... and I love you too Muscles, wherever you are.
Thank you for reading this.
THE DETAILS: Uncle Muscles is a red heeler that weighs about 30 lbs. He is shy but harmless. He is microchipped and neutered. $1,000 cash REWARD- any information call/text 248-345-4014 or 231-667-0695