Lost dog, responds to “Bells.” Gone for three days, but seen in the neighborhood. Don’t chase because he might run. Someone said he’s in survival mode now, that he even ran away from his person when they spotted him. My dad spent some time driving around yesterday looking for him. Last night we had a horrible cold snap. Coldest night of the year, and with the wind it felt like minus ten. I’m as hopeful as anyone, but have a hard time believing Bells made it through that night. I’m sure my niece lay awake, anxious about the poor animal; she seemed on the verge of tears when I saw her yesterday. I, too, can’t get the image out of my head of Bells curled up in the woods, frozen solid, asleep forever. But now Bells’ person hired trappers to find him, and maybe he did make it through the night. Let’s hope for the best until it’s clear the best won’t happen, and even then let’s keep hoping. Today I saw Bells’ person parked near the local pond, “Lost Dog” signs taped on all the windows. Such tragic irony; dogs like Bells go missing every day. But yeah, it hurts when it’s this close. Last night was so windy, a gust blew down the chimney and opened the fireplace door, and now there’s a thin layer of ash coating the room. I imagine Bells’ ghostly paw prints in the gray and white. The worst happens every day, but sometimes the best does, too. Maybe Bells’ person will become a fixture, like one of those Japanese soldiers left behind at the end of World War II, posted at the same place, maybe forever, until someone comes to relieve them, until Bells comes home.