Malti’s Great Escape (& Her Mommy’s Great Search)

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originally published on Malti & Me on May 16, 2016

Those of you who have been following Malti & Me for the past 2 years know that she came to me when she was just 1 month old, silver dollar-sized and scared of everything.

Not anymore.

Today, Malti is a feisty and fiercely independent 2-year-old….a little too much so in her overprotective mommy’s opinion.

On Tuesday, May 10th, Malti and I were out on the lawn as usual. I had my laptop with me (also as usual) and got busy replying to an email and when I looked up…..no tortoise.

The last photo I snapped of Malti, just moments before she escaped.

I looked EVERYWHERE. If you have ever had that horrible sinking feeling like whatever-it-is you are searching for just ISN’T THERE, well, you know exactly how I felt.

As soon as my mom arrived and got me (somewhat) calmed down, we launched our search, which basically proceeded as follows:

Day 1 – no Malti.

Day 2 – no Malti.

Days 3, 4 & 5 – no Malti.

In between hours of searching and swatting and sweating, I hired a wonderful animal communicator named Dana Miller to help us.

I also prayed a lot, mostly when I was lying in bed at night aching in both body and heart.

And I whined in long form about the clearly one-sided unfairness of love and the uselessness of having so-called “faith” (I think I may have even said, “I’d rather go to Vegas and gamble. Plus I think I’d get better odds.”)

And I HATE gambling.

In the meantime, Dana helped us narrow down an area where we could concentrate our search efforts. 

With her guidance, we scoured fields full of tangled grasses, angry mosquitos and towering ant mounds, using sticks to lift up vines and bushes. We looked under every trash can and every vehicle.

Malti’s “LOST!” poster on the back of my car, where it stayed, shine or rain, for the entire 6 days while we searched.

On Day 6, I woke up sore and sad. I logged into Facebook to check if anyone had messaged me about finding her. Then I saw a post from a FB friend that read:

You will find her today… Take some more efforts on the north side of your house. Don’t forget to check your neighbours house as well…pls update immediately.

Well, you’d better believe I had my sunscreen and mosquito spray and baseball cap and signs and walking stick in hand in a matter of minutes! I went flying out the door and attempted to follow Dana’s instruction to “use my intuition” (even though I’m like, “what intuition?”) and my FB friend’s guidance about heading to the north to select a spot to begin the search.

The stick and I whacked through one small overgrown lot and then something in me said, “I’m going THAT WAY.” North.

The gorgeous red and white flowering bush I found Malti hiding under – just 2 blocks from our home!

I passed a few meticulously maintained flower beds. A gorgeous red and white flowering bush caught my eye. I lifted the sides and back of the plant with my stick, then began to worry, “I hope the owners don’t think I’m attacking their plant.”

That gave me the idea to bend down and gently lift up the front of the plant.

There, nestled in between the plant and the driveway’s brand-new concrete I saw a familiar red-dotted shape.

Malti. Posing in front of the townhouse complex where I found her.

At this point I am proud to say I hyperventilated like a champ as I sobbed-gushed-gulped for air, stumbling back towards the car while holding little Malti firmly in both hands.

We took photos as I sat down in the middle of yet another overgrown, itchy field and called Mom and Dad to relay the good news.

Malti. Posing in front of one of the many open fields Mom and I searched with our sticks.

Malti rode in the car with me as we picked up every.last.sign, peeling them off stop signs, business windows and seemingly endless generic silver lamp posts.

The huge pile of mangled flyers we retrieved from lamp posts, stop signs and local businesses. Malti rode with me to get every last one of them!

When we got home, she had a nice warm soak in her blue jacuzzi tub and a delicious dinner of mango and puppy chow (2 long-time favorites).

My beautiful and exhausted girl soaking in her blue jacuzzi tub (I love how she extends her cute little back leg! – sigh of mommy happiness).

Then she crawled into her humidity cave and burrowed deep into a brand-new batch of fresh wet stinky sphagnum moss and went right to sleep.

(Author’s note: Her mommy blissfully followed suit – sans moss – soon thereafter).

Watch & Listen: Pearl & his mommy read from “Love & Feathers”

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Published by Shannon Cutts

Cockatiel, redfoot tortoise and box turtle mama. Author, writer, pet & people blogger.

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