Even months before I transferred to this neighborhood this February, I had always noticed the sign outside the guardhouse. It was a tarpaulin printout of a gray shihtzu with a blue vest looking towards the side, its mouth open in a dogsmile with its ears pulled back.
That’s how dogs smile, you know. They look at you, open the jaws and pant, all the while pulling their ears back. It is not so much the open mouth that makes the smile but more the ears being pulled backwards.
That dog was smiling. And, according to the sign, he had been missing since September last year.
Each time I enter the gate and see the lost dog sign, I imagine the dog somewhere out there hungry if still alive. And as most purebreds like the shihtzu with special needs, had by now stopped receiving some medication or supplement that needs to be taken regularly.
So I worried for the dog everyday I drive by that gate to the neighborhood. And I worry for its human who must still have kept looking.
The Lost Dog Sign has been removed.
They stopped looking.
Tomorrow, I will once again see the space where the sign used to hang.
And I will still think of the shihtzu, knowing that his humans have stopped looking for him.