She was an older dog when she appeared at my house. We were both leery of each other. She had apparently been abused, and I had just lost one of my pets. But, together, we formed a new alliance. She was always so independent, fearless, loving and just friendly. I wasn't. She taught me that. Now, that independence has cost us both. I let her outside on Monday afternoon. It began to thunder and lightning. She hated them both. By the time I noticed and went to let her back inside, she was gone. Gone to look for a place to hide, I suppose. I've looked, called animal shelters in my hometown and all neighboring communities, went back to places where we used to live, all to no avail. I never knew how much she really meant to me until she was gone. I keep hoping everyday that she'll just appear back at the door, just out for a little adventure. It's the not knowing what happened to her that really has me down. And even now, I hope that she's just found someone who needed her as much, or more, than I did and that she's happy. Because the alternative is just to hard to accept. But, if she has left this world, I know that her playmate, Ardie, will be waiting for her at the Rainbow Bridge and she'll be happy there with him. But, I'll always wonder where she is and why she left. In closing, please make sure you show your babies how much you love and appreciate them everyday. You never know when the last day will be.