Dog Tales
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Dog Tales

Reiley’s Missive

Photo by hp koch on Unsplash

Dear Taunton,

Thank you for being our detective in the case of the missing Reiley. We have received a clue that we hope will guide you in your search.

Late this morning, a very sick sparrow gasped her last breath on the beach where we dogs gather with our owners. The seagulls gathered around and heard the woeful tale she told and repeated what they heard to us.

Here it is, what we can make out:

There is an end. This is not forever…

Meals are … but the light has changed. The electric lights come on much earlier and stay on much longer. No one has a window, but they expect us to live by the faint trace of sunlight that comes through a hole at the far end of the hall.

… my family. The mother was going to have a baby. Oh I miss them so much.

… life of a dog to patiently endure. You taught me so much about this. …forever grateful.


The good news, oh Taunton, is that Reiley has been heard from. There is no doubt that this message is from our missing friend. Life seems to be precarious, but sustained and we have new hope.

At the same time, that first sentence really worries us. “There is an end. This is not forever …” sounds very ominous. What end? When?

We feel so helpless being so far away. We hope desperately that this furthers your efforts to find what has happened, what is happening, and, though it seems too much to hope, what will happen.

Can you find any news about Reiley’s family? Perhaps there are neighbourhood animals that have information. We are sending messages of hope to the last known address for the family, and the last place we knew Reiley to be.

With stalwart hearts,


Dear Sasha,

I am overcome with joy that you received a missive from the object of our search. However incomplete it is, it carries the strengthening power of certainty. Reiley is alive and will be found.

Being a “free lancer” means that I have a varied life. My owner takes me onto the job site and allows me much freedom to roam. I can interrogate any species that comes onto the job site. You would be surprised how the six degrees of separation that humans talk about works in the animal world.

We have a constant guard over the vet clinic near Reiley’s family home. The cat has accepted a small bribe to tell us that Reiley did enter their doors and did exit through the back into a truck. She didn’t know what the sign on the truck said.

At that point she became cunningly stupid and refused to answer any more questions. We are contemplating a catnapping. Stay tuned.

Reiley’s family home is also under constant surveillance. You are correct. There are neighbourhood animals who know the family’s secrets. The children are back at school. The father continues to work outside the home. He can be heard instructing the children on how to behave in public.

The mother is pregnant. She is past the stage where she sleeps inordinately. The children are now used to walking to school by themselves and don’t like her to come. Reiley will miss this twice a day walk!

The car has broken down twice this fall and they are looking for a new one. Apparently the one they have was given to them by a colleague who didn’t need it anymore.

More to the point, Reiley’s toys have been gathered in from the back yard. But they have not been seen in the garbage. This may mean the family expects to see their pet who came with them from the far-away land, or, well, you know what happens to our toys. They get recycled to the next pet.

Do not despair. You have received the best news in the most confirming way. I will put out the word among the sparrows that Reiley can communicate with me. This may increase the opportunities and the chances of a message getting through.


Taunton the Mastif

Thank you to all who are following the adventures, and misadventures of Reiley! Until next episode, you can catch my other stories here:



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Nicola MacCameron

Nicola MacCameron

Are you creative? Everything I touch turns to art. Visual art, written, aural, tactile, you name it, I love it! Author of Leoshine, Princess Oracle.