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Wednesday, March 20, 2024

Mystery: The Case of My Friend’s Missing Dog

Something that I’ve always been adamant about is writing what I want to write. The reason for this is simple: I can’t force myself to get excited or interested in writing about something that another person wants me to write about. I learned this the hard way when someone asked me to write about a cruise ship disappearance and, ultimately, I got nowhere.

As a result, I don’t take requests. I’m open to suggestions, of course. If someone suggests a story, I’ll look into it and consider it, but I’m hesitant to even do that. It’s likely I’ll outright forget about it and move on to whatever intrigues me the most.

Like all rules, though, I’m prone to breaking them. For the first time ever, I’m covering a story at the request of a very close friend of mine—one of my best, actually. She’s a friend who’s cheered me on when it comes to writing and is an all-around great person. I would do anything for her, and she would do anything for me.

As misfortune would have it, this very friend recently lost one of her dogs. Apparently, the dog—a female mixed breed named Mercy—disappeared. For the record, neither of us knows the exact breeds. I don’t know any dog breeders, so I can’t ask for identification, and I’m not about to ask around behind my friend’s back.

Anyway, a dog merely running off wouldn’t be something I wrote about. Dogs vanish all the time. More often than not, they run off for one reason or another, though there are instances where someone steals the dog or a predatory animal attacks and kills it, then takes it off as a meal.

Yet, oddly enough, none of those appear to be the case here.

You see, Mercy was an old one. While it’s not unheard of for people to adopt an elderly dog, neither myself nor my friend have heard of someone stealing an elderly dog. On top of that, the entire town knew her. One would think that if a familiar face—even that of a dog—would be seen by someone. Yet, that’s not the case here.

Several weeks later, there’s been no sign of Mercy. No sightings. No fur. No collar. No tracks. Nothing. It’s like she vanished into thin air.

That brings me to this write-up. After consoling my friend as best I could (which amounted to me talking before saying that the whole thing piqued my curiosity), we talked about how odd it was. Fast-forward to today—March 12—and she messaged me over Discord asking if I’d be interested in writing about this. I was surprised at first but immediately smiled and said something I never thought I would say when it came to a request.

I said yes.

Initially, I had planned for this write-up to be posted after another one, but given the circumstances, I figured it’d be rather cruel of me to let it linger and cover it at a later point. But I digress; come along, dear reader! For the first time in this blog’s history, we’ll be covering a mystery tied to a friend of mine! This is The Case of My Friend’s Missing Dog!

Dog Days

Given the nature of this mystery, I’ll be telling it rather off-the-cuff and from my own perspective. I didn’t want my friend to give me personal information that would make her uncomfortable. While she may be my friend, I doubt she’d like it if I disclosed what city she lives in. As a result, this case lacks any specification tags outside of “North America” and “United States.” That said, she did give me permission to refer to her as “Sofia” for this article.

Now, then, onto the story. It began on March 2, 2024. I know, it’s a real shocker, given that I said that it occurred a few weeks back in the introduction. At the time, I was watching a NASCAR race; when it ended, I messaged her over Discord. Sofia and I had been joking around earlier in the day, and I apologized for neglecting to respond (NASCAR and its many left turns are just that dang important to me).

Upon receiving a response a little under an hour later, I was surprised to read this:

My old dog is lost.

Now, I’ve known Sofia for about 3-and-a-half years. Like any friendship, it’s had its ups and downs. That said, I knew that this wasn’t some bizarre joke on her end. Had I been able to, I would’ve assisted in the search. Unfortunately, we live quite a ways away from each other, so all I could do was provide moral support. This amounted to me saying the following:

I hope she’s okay.

I was not exactly sure what to say at the moment.

Once I’d collected my thoughts and decided that merely saying such a deep and meaningful statement was more than a little shallow, I decided to ask more questions in hopes of giving Sofia an idea or two.

The first thing I asked was if Mercy had been chipped (my dog has, so they can track him should he run off to do whatever it is that a dog does when it gets loose, like piss on a tree or maul a small animal). To my dismay, Sofia said that Mercy had not.

The next thing I asked was if Mercy had a collar. Sofia replied that she did not since Mercy hated collars and was known to everyone around town. Even animal control knew who owned her. As a result, if she got loose, a collar wouldn’t be necessary. Whoever found Mercy would immediately return her.

This line of thinking perplexed me a bit, but Sofia and I are from two vastly different places. Having grown up near a city, and having visited New York City a great deal, the idea of not having a collar on a dog was all but alien to me. However, smaller towns here in the United States are like this, so I won’t judge. However, do keep this aspect in mind for later because it’s crucial to one of the major theories.

Although Mercy lacked a tracking chip and collar, her getting loose shouldn’t have been that big of an issue. Before I could inquire any further, Sofia told me that Mercy was “old” and couldn’t have gotten far as a result. I’d like to imagine that, in order to achieve this vanishing act, Mercy decided to hitchhike like she was Brian from Family Guy.

Sofia then added that Mercy had gotten loose last year, and they found her “in a ditch,” which makes me want to believe Mercy had dug it and then hid there while pretending it was partaking in a World War I reenactment.

Before I was able to ask Sofia if she’d checked the same ditch, or anywhere near it, for Mercy, I read the rest of the message (because I’m a smart reader—sometimes). According to Sofia, she—along with her family (consisting of her mother, father, brother, and her brother’s wife)—had gone and checked Mercy’s “usual spots” and found no sign of her. This included bushes, underneath some cars, the local bayou, and presumably the aforementioned ditch. Sofia’s neighbors also checked their garages, but there was no sign of Mercy.

Evidently, everyone wanted to play Tracer that day. There, the one person who still cares about Overwatch can now rest easy that I made an Overwatch reference. Now back to the case.

To make matters even more frustrating, there was no physical sign of Mercy. No pawprints, no fur, nothing. That further piqued my interest, and I asked my next question: where, exactly, was Mercy before she vanished?

This is where the story went from “strange” to making me desperately want to cover it. According to Sofia, Mercy had been outdoors “with a friend.” My immediate thought was that this “friend” was another dog and that the two were running around doing whatever it is that dogs do when they play together. However, that was not the case. It was a man whom I will call Maxwell.

How Maxwell and Mercy came to be close is something I didn’t bother asking, since this is a write-up on how Mercy went missing and not my version of Marley & Me. Anyway, Sofia told me that every morning, Mercy would rush over to Maxwell when she was let out to go do whatever it is dogs do in the morning, like reading the newspaper in the backyard while peeing.

On this particular day, Maxwell was “cleaning his yard” while Mercy “was in a pile of leaves.” Maxwell looked away for a moment to do human stuff (like clean his yard), and when he looked back, Mercy was gone. It was like she’d blinked out of existence.

The first thing to come to mind when I heard this was that this sounded a lot like David Paulides’ infamous Missing 411 phenomenon. One second, they were there. The next, they weren’t. The only difference is that this was in some guy’s yard as opposed to a national park. I know that some people have extended this theory into an array of unexplained disappearances, but I have no idea if Paulides had ever counted these as “canonical” (for lack of a better term).

For those who don’t know, Missing 411 is a controversial theory that dictates there’s something amiss when it comes to many strange and unsolved disappearances in national parks across the United States. These claims are… dubious for a multitude of reasons; many are skeptical of Paulides’ claims and have accused him of fudging with data (which I think has been proven in some capacity). Others, meanwhile, think he’s an outright fraud who’s pushing a narrative for his own financial gain.

I, personally, have never read any of the Missing 411 books, though I want to. However, from what I’ve seen, they cost a great deal of money—money that I don’t care to spend when I can listen to various videos on YouTube about strange disappearances that are similar. Great value and all that; pretend this was a worthwhile joke, please. 

In all seriousness, I bring this up because a fair number of stories within the pages of Paulides’ book series are similar. Someone was there, and then, in the blink of an eye, they weren’t. I’ll elaborate more on it when we get to the theories, but for now, I want to mention something else. Or rather, someone.

Given that Maxwell was the last person to have seen Mercy, it stands to reason that he’d be a suspect. Granted, the murder of a dog isn’t exactly grounds for a large-scale police investigation (not that I know of, anyway). However, I want to say right now that I won’t consider him a suspect whatsoever since I have absolutely no evidence to base it on, and I’m not about to hurt accusations, be they hypothetical or not, at someone who’s known to a very close friend of mine.

Despite that, I will say that it’s pretty odd that he was the last person to see Mercy alive, and he didn’t see or hear her wander off. Of course, it’s possible the man didn’t convey his story well to Sofia. I can’t imagine he felt very good about himself if a dog he was close to vanished under what was, at the time, his watch.

Ultimately, that is where the story ends. As stated earlier, I couldn’t assist in any search effort, so it’s not like I could snoop around for pawprints or question Maxwell myself like I was Cole Phelps. Not that I think I’d get anywhere since my eyesight is rather poor, and I’m an atrocious interrogator.

That said, this is where the story comes to an end. As anticlimactic as it may be, I couldn’t really think of anything else to ask Sofia, not that I think there was anything left to ask. After a while, the questions would’ve gotten so specific that no one outside of me would’ve cared to ask them. So I spared her (and likewise, you) the frustration of trudging through 5,000 more words of asinine jabber from yours truly.

As of this writing, Mercy has yet to be found, alive or deceased. Where she may have gone and what might have happened to her remain mysteries. Lucky for you and me, I have amassed quite a few theories as to what might’ve occurred. So, without further ado, let’s dig into them!


1. Mercy ran off

According to the American Humane Society, around 10,000,000 pets run away each year. This no doubt includes more than just cats and dogs, but I digress. This figure alone lends so much credence to this theory that it’s hard to say anything other than, “It’s the most plausible one.” After all, Mercy was outside playing with only Maxwell watching her. When he looked away and looked back, she was gone. The most likely explanation is that she ran away.

Chances are, yes, that’s what happened, but there’s no way to prove it at all. Mercy lacked a collar, which makes it impossible to determine if she ran off and was taken away for whatever reason. Heck, Mercy herself has never been found—dead or alive. No fur, blood, pawprints, or anything else has been found.

That lack of evidence makes it frustratingly difficult to say that this is what happened. However, it is still arguably the most plausible theory. After all, dogs are prone to running off. Perhaps Mercy caught sight of someone or something and ran after them because canine instincts are weird. I can attest to that; my dog likes to bark at the wind. What a strange animal.

2. Someone stole Mercy

This is relatively self-explanatory. Someone dognapped Mercy because they wanted a dog of their own, or because they’re a sadist. I don’t think there’s much to say here outside of that; if you’re into true crime, you can tell where the latter path is headed. In the case of the former, I don’t know how common dognapping is, but I’m sure it exists.

How this would’ve played out is similar to the theory we just went over. Mercy ran off, and while she was loose, someone found her and took her. Whatever happens after depends very heavily. Either she was killed or, in a happier instance, she’s being cared for (more on that in a bit).

I’d say that this is the most likely theory—at least, in my humble opinion. It’d explain why no trace of her has ever been found. The only drawback is that if Mercy was known to everyone, then surely we’d know who did it. More on that when we get to my personal take, though.

2. Someone took Mercy in

As said above, this is a happier version of things. The idea is that someone took Mercy in and is caring for her. Odds are, they were unfamiliar with Mercy, and rather than take her to an animal shelter, they decided to care for her.

This, to me, seems extremely plausible. I remember one day when my parents found a stray dog who lacked a collar. We cared for her for a few hours until the owner found her. A lovely dog that my old dog was extremely jealous of because we were giving her attention rather than him.

My personal anecdote aside, this is, to me, the most plausible theory in terms of happy value. However, if Mercy truly was known to everyone locally, I doubt someone would know that Sofia and her family owned her and wouldn’t have willingly returned her.

3. Someone hit Mercy and hid her body

A rather morbid theory, but one that I still believe is somewhat plausible, this one posits that Mercy was hit by someone who was driving. Feeling guilty and not wanting anyone to see the carcass of a dog, they put her body in some bushes.

Honestly, I doubt this was the case, but I wanted to include it because it sounded probable in my head. That, and it’d explain why no one had found her. Perhaps she ran off relatively far away and was hit, and then a scavenger took her body away.

God, I have a morbid mind at times.

4. Aliens?

More of a joke theory than anything else; there is one thing I want to touch upon with this theory that isn’t a joke. Namely, the idea that some otherworldly force was responsible for Mercy’s disappearance.

This relates back to when I went on a brief tangent about Missing 411. At least, it does to some degree. The main root of this theory is that something took her. Not someone, but something. A Fleshgait, Wendigo, Pale Crawler, interdimensional monstrosity, Andy Dick; whatever your mind conjures up, it’s probably good enough to fit the bill. It wasn’t of this world, but it was hungry, and so it took Mercy.

There are countless, and I mean that in the most genuine way possible, stories and accounts of people who say that their beloved pet[s] were taken—or slaughtered—by some eldritch humanoid abominations that resided in the forest or desert. They’re usually described as tall, gaunt creatures with sunken-in eyes that reek of 500 hours spent in the basement playing Counter Strike 2 without showering.

To my dismay, I can’t independently verify any of these stories, so you need to rely on the old “trust me, bro” card. And because of that, you’re more than free to say that I’m full of it. There’s a good chance that most of the stories are, honestly, but I enjoy them regardless.

With that said, for this theory, you need to just “go with it,” because the validity of these reports (as I’ve already said) is questionable. Some are adamant they exist, while others put them in the same category as Fleshgaits. Namely, fictional beings that younger folks on the Internet like to claim are real.

Much in the same way that one’s parents had the urban legend of “Skinned Tom,” the story of a man who was skinned alive for having an affair with another man’s wife who now stalks the woods near lovers lanes, kids today have the aberration of Skinwalkers, Fleshgaits, the Wendigo, and whatever relevance remains of the aforementioned Slender Man.

For the sake of argument, though, let’s treat them as real; I think that’s the best way to approach this theory without coming across as dismissive and like a know-it-all jerk. At least, to me, it’s the best way to approach it. You’re more than welcome to disagree.

Whether you believe it to have been a Fleshgait (a shapeshifting humanoid) or Pale Crawler (basically the same thing as The Rake, a thin, gaunt, pale humanoid with sharp claws) is up to you. Regardless, these beings are also said to be exceedingly agile, capable of moving astonishingly large distances in the blink of an eye. That, on its own, would lend some credence to this theory. It moved so fast and silently that Maxwell never heard it.

The problem is the lack of that oh-so-infamous stench—the odor of “blood and copper.” In almost all accounts of these beings, the odor is what alerts the eyewitness[es] to their presence. One has to wonder how they’ve remained so elusive if their smell is more prevalent than that of a skunk. Maybe they just forgot to apply some deodorant.

Surely, if some Fleshgait or Pale Crawler had been in the area, Maxwell would’ve smelled it long before it took Mercy away. And if it wanted her so badly, it would’ve likely taken Maxwell, too, since both creatures are known for targeting humans. Well, unless they yearned for a quick snack. In that case, disregard that previous thought because I guess even lanky 8-foot-tall abominations deserve snacks too.

Now, how likely is all of this? That depends on how much you believe in this kind of thing. If you’re like me and you do believe in the paranormal, but still maintain a slightly skeptical mindset so as to not get too deep into the realm of the Fortean, you’ll probably dismiss this. After all, this is a lot to take at face value.

However, this wasn’t written for people like myself. No, it was written for those who do believe in it. Why? Well, this blog was founded on not taking pre-determined stances (unless the story’s already been debunked or can be debunked). So, for those of you ardent believers in the Fortean out there, I hope this serves as some tasty food for thought!

5. El Chupacabra!

I won’t lie: when Sofia first mentioned her dog vanished, one of the very first things I thought of was El Chupacabra. Yes, my mind immediately went to the infamous vampiric cattle killer from Puerto Rico who’s now a global icon. Why? Well, I’ve listened to one too many scary true (or “true,” in some cases) story compilations on YouTube while enjoying some brain-rot-tier video game.

For those who stumbled across this blog and have no idea what El Chupacabra (Spanish for “The Goatsucker”) is, then let me give you a quick rundown. It’s a bipedal (or, in some versions, canid) cryptid that has spikes running down its back. It drinks the blood of animals without touching the actual meat and flesh of it. In short: it’s a vampire, but for goats, chickens, dogs, and other things that you’d find on a farm.

You know, I’m shocked nobody’s made some cheap B-movie about this being Dracula’s pet that got loose while he was on vacation. Someone ought to make that.

Anyway, how likely is it that this was what happened to Mercy? Well, given it happened during the day, it’s not very likely. The Chupacabra is said to be nocturnal (like most cryptids) and would’ve drank her blood at the site, not taken away.

Additionally, while some variations of the creature claim that it has wings, most portray it as a hairless canine-like creature with glowing red eyes. So unless this thing somehow ran in, took Mercy away, and got away without creating any sound, I sincerely doubt it’s the reason Mercy vanished.

Nevertheless, I have to admit the mental image of this creature pulling its best Agent 47 to drink the blood of an elderly dog is slightly amusing in a dark way. There is yet another thing I would love to see someone make. Cryptids, but they’re all Agent 47. Skulking around the shadows, hiding evidence of their existence in random areas, going on missions for some shadowy organization.

I would make this if I had any animation skills. Unfortunately, I can barely draw a stick figure. Life’s unfair.

6. No, wait, it was a hoax!

Yes, one of my closest friends lied to me and pulled a really long con. Truly, I am a master detective!

7. Greg Abbott

According to Sofia:

Greg Abbott would steal my dog.

Therefore, I have concocted the theory that this was a hit-and-run! Utilizing a rocket-powered wheelchair, Governor Abbott ran over Mercy and blamed the tragic accident on Gavin Newsom.

My Take

With this case being tied to someone I know and cherish, I tried my absolute best to think of some conclusion. Preferably one that would give Sofia a sense of closure. Sure, I’m not the arbiter of mysteries; my takes are not the be-all, end-all of these stories. However, given how close we are, I figured that my conclusion would, at the absolute least, be able to give her that sense of closure we all yearn for when it comes to a case like this.

The first thing I want to address is Maxwell—or, rather, his possible role in this case. I said he wouldn’t be in the theories section, but I do want to address his potential involvement here mainly because Sofia and her mother are of the opinion that he killed Mercy.

I don’t really agree. At least, not with what little I know.

Accusing someone of wrongdoing is something I try to refrain from on this blog. Not only do I not desire to potentially ruin someone’s life, but I don’t think it’s in my place to toss around accusations like they’re candy. I also don’t want to get sued.

That said, I do see why Sofia, her mom, and others (I’m sure some readers will subscribe to this theory) hold this view. Maxwell and Mercy were close, and Maxwell was the last person to see Mercy. It’s incredibly suspicious that there’s been no sign of her.

However, I’d argue that if Maxwell were responsible, there would’ve been some indication that he killed her. Surely, there’d have been a sign of one (or more) of the following:

  • Blood on the lawn

  • The sound of a dog yelping was heard

  • Signs of a struggle (Mercy was a dog, after all)

  • Disturbed ground

However, no blood was found, no yelp (or bark, for that matter) was heard, and there was no sign of a burial site.

The closest that we got was Sofia telling me that it appeared Maxwell was covering a hole with leaves at some point. If this were the case, then I think it’d be a matter of time before that hole is exposed; I’m writing this close to a month after this, and that hole has yet to appear. 

Unless Maxwell hid Mercy’s body in his house, I’m skeptical. It’s plausible, but there are a lot of things that don’t fully add up to me here. Do I think it’s possible? Yes. Do I think it’s plausible? Absolutely. Do I believe this to be the case? With what little I know, absolutely not.

In fact, I’d say that, overall, I can’t settle on one theory since I not only don’t live in the same area as Sofia, but I can’t go around performing my own half-baked investigation with a pipe, detective’s hat, and magnifying class. Indeed, I am incapable of being the American equivalent of Sherlock Holmes. Seven days of mourning are required to cope with such a terrible bout of misfortune such as this.

Seven days of mourning later (which amounted to about 7 seconds and a bowl of chicken noodle soup), I can safely say that, of every theory, a combination of two theories sits the best with me. Those two are where her dog wandered off, and someone subsequently took her.

My best guess is that, at some point, Mercy got loose. Eventually, someone—be it a passerby or local—took her in and is either now caring for her, or they found her and immediately took her to an animal shelter.

This, of course, has plenty of issues that I cannot properly answer. Namely, if Mercy was so well known, why wasn’t she returned? Also, how did no one even notice her get loose or spot her as she was wandering around? While not impossible, the likelihood of nobody noticing a stray dog feels slim at best.

Oh well, I’m beginning to talk in circles. Ultimately, I doubt Sofia and I will ever get answers to those questions. At least, I doubt we will if her dog’s never found. However, I do hold out the faintest bit of hope that, by some stroke of luck, she does get some sense of closure. Of course, I’m an optimist when it comes to these things, so perhaps I’m just being overly naïve. I hope, for Sofia’s sake, I’m not.


There’s a part of me that feels truly horrible for not being able to come to a concrete conclusion. However, with each passing moment, it becomes more and more apparent that Sofia’s beloved dog is more than likely deceased. That breaks my heart, and I can only hope that this write-up brings her some semblance of solace (which I doubt it will, but maybe the little quips and personal interjections will make her laugh).

That aside, I would love to know what you think happened to my dear friend’s elderly dog. Did she run away? Was she dognapped? Did Maxwell kill her? Or was she taken in by another family who didn’t recognize her but wanted to care for her since she lacked any identification? Feel free to leave a comment and all that jazz; I’m not a YouTuber, so I won’t outright ask for one.

What I will say, though, is what I say at the end of every write-up: stay happy, stay healthy, and thank you for reading! 

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