Despite countless hours of searching and the extraordinary diligence of very special people and local communities. We remain unsuccessful at recovering our beloved cat, Bitz.
Deborah Solomon and Joe Bauer, Phoenix, AZ. are serving as the support vehicle for the National Kidney Donation Foundation. A month-long fund-raising awareness event that began in Madison Wisconsin, is following the Mississippi River some 1500 miles to a donor kidney recipient in Louisiana. Our job as the support vehicle is to travel ahead of the group and provide “pit stops” and a place to stay for the cyclists. We are traveling with our family of 2 Golden Retrievers, Mazee and Journee and our cat Bitz.
Bitz was last seen eating his breakfast at the Rustic Barn Campground in Cuba City, Wisconsin. He is accustomed to traveling with us in the motorcoach and has several places he safely tucks into as we close up the coach and head down the road. We met briefly with our group in Bellevue IA., parked on the street, just long enough to check on the team and welcome a few new riders.
Continuing our journey, we set up at Driscoll Island, just outside of Sabula IA. We opened the slides on the coach, provided refreshments to our team, packed up and headed down the road to Moline for the night.
It was only then, as we set up for the night, we realized Bitz was missing. We searched every square inch of the coach, in complete panic, unloaded our Jeep from our trailer and made a mad dash back to Driscoll Island. Hours of searching, darkness and exhaustion, we drove 1 ½ hours back to the coach in Moline. We returned to Driscoll the next morning, armed with a stack of Missing Cat posters and photos of Bitz. The thought of my late Mom’s 18-year-old housecat, having never been outside, no survival experience, no defensive knowledge, no chip, is gut wrenching. We covered the island, Sabula, Savanna, Clinton and surrounding communities putting up posters on every available space. We made overnight visits to the island and searched throughout the night when cats are most active. We soon realized we were joined by a dozen locals aiding in our search. We grabbed a few hours of sleep in the Jeep and picked up the next day but to no avail.
We had made a commitment to the Foundation, who kindly extended us a few days, but it was time we needed to fulfill our obligation. It was time for us to move on.
Most pet owners have had a pet pass away. So painful, but many of us find comfort believing our beloved pets are in a far better place, free of pain, running and chasing balls in a big field of green. But leaving one behind is simply the most difficult and heartbreaking experience of my life.
It has now been 9 days; I think hope has changed to faith. God promises his love of animals and those who care for them. Returning our Bitz is solely in his loving hands.
We extend our sincere thanks and appreciation to the amazing people of your community. We extend a special thank you to Kendra Cornilsen and her family who went above and beyond the call to find Bitz. And to the dozens of others, not only for assisting in the search, but for the messages we receive from total strangers extending a word of kindness.
In a world of chaos, your community has restored our faith in humanity.
Our sincere gratitude always;
Deborah Solomon and Joe Bauer