Pin Scruffy to the tree

Oh look, another tree is crying (barking seems too obvious here) that another dog is missing.

Your dog has left you, Helen – accept it and move on. Just like how you have applied human adjectives to his being, Scruffy doesn’t think that you possess enough of his canine qualities – you don’t sniff his bottom or chase him enough, you don’t join him with the howling at Patch the kitty across the road, and he’s left you. There’s just not enough common ground to build upon for this relationship to continue.

I know it’s hard, we’ve all been tempted to pin a poster to a tree, calling out for the object of our unrequited love. But be strong, cut the communication. And that includes the poster making. Time really is a healer – soon these feelings will become rage and soon you will want to pin Scruffy to the tree instead.

Why on earth do you think that anyone who passes this tree will care about the fact that your one true love has left you? Why do you assume that someone will walk past this tree and think ‘Oh yes, I saw a very friendly dog who answers to the name of Scruffy walk past me the other day, because I’m regularly shouting out SCRUFFY at any given chance. Yes, the first thing I noticed was that distinctive tear-shaped marking on his stomach and that mischievous glint in his eye.’

Because nobody cares, Helen. Move on. Okay, fair enough, unless you’re on holiday the sight of a stray dog is a rare and wonderful thing and maybe Helen will one day be reunited with Scruffy…

…but a cat? How on earth do you expect anyone, apart from the deranged, to monitor all the cats in this area in order to keep tabs on the whereabouts of little Patch, Peter? I know you’re missing her, but how do you expect a passer-by to remember all the cats they’ve ever passed on their walk and to connect the sighting of that black cat over there with your poster they saw on a tree three days ago? Do you really think that anyone has that little going on in their lives they’re able to designate a special place in their mind to store all the missing posters they’ve seen?

Maybe you’ll be the lucky one; maybe a weirdo has already created a FOUND poster for Patch. Because there are those weirdos out there, rumour has it.

The RSPCA has recently reported that there has been a worrying social media-influenced increase in owners throwing out their black cats. Black cats don’t look as ‘gawjus’ in a selfie as their lighter-coloured counterparts, because black cats’ features don’t show up in photos, apparently.

So with all of these discarded black cats wandering the streets, there will be a disturbingly drastic surge of FOUND posters appearing on trees nationwide. How many trees will be lost to keep up with both paper demand to produce these posters and space demand in order to display these posters? It’s a scary thought.

But really, who actually takes the time to create a FOUND poster? Who thinks that they have the authority to create a FOUND poster? Who spots a cat, decides it’s walking in a ‘missing’ manner, picks it up, takes it home and sits it at their feet whilst they open Microsoft Publisher to create their dramatic announcement: ‘FOUND – Black cat, seems friendly enough, (no photo I’m afraid, he doesn’t photograph well). Call me.’

That cat you’ve just stolen from the streets was just enjoying an afternoon stroll. Yes, he hasn’t been seen in these parts before, but he just felt like a change of scenery.  But now you’ve snatched him from the streets and made him the star of your FOUND poster and subsequently he is now MISSING.

Or what if that cat was just one of those cats not deemed good enough for a selfie? Thrown out in a fit of rage after the selfie only received one lonely Facebook Like from a great, great aunt.  How long do you intend on keeping the cat for? Because nobody’s going to make a claim for that cat, so now what? Is the cat now your new pet or will you throw it back onto the streets after a period of time with no responses? Ready for someone else to start the horrendous FOUND poster process all over again.

Or what if, like Scruffy the dog, the cat walked out of the cat flap after deciding that he’s just not compatible with the owner – we want different things in life, there’s no point continuing, it’s not you, it’s me. Why are you now holding this cat hostage and forcing a reunion? What if that’s not what the cat wants?

Or what if the cat has voluntarily run away and, like that homeless man sat outside Sainsbury’s, he doesn’t want to be found. He’s run away after alienating everyone around him, following his slow descent into substance abuse. When you walk past a homeless person on the street, do you immediately pick him up and create a FOUND poster? ‘FOUND – Ginger male, friendly, yet distant, will answer to name of ‘Scruffy’.’ No, I’m quite sure you don’t. But you probably should. 

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