Freide Headshot_SketchPlease help me find my son. My name is Margaret Freide, loving mother of Animals Among Us columnist Doug Freide. My Dougie is missing, gone off into the jungle or God knows what! I always told that boy that he would be torn to shreds by a lioness or an Amazonian princess or something if he followed those wacky dreams of his, and now here we are! Some stork is probably using my poor son’s femur to pick brains out of his teeth right now. Oh, gee, do storks have teeth? This is why I need my son back!

I stopped by my PO Box last week to pick up the new People magazine with that Blake Shelton-Miranda Lambert divorce mumbo jumbo on the cover, but all that arrived was a letter from Doug. I opened his letter thinking he wanted me to ship him his ant farm again ($125 at FedEx, I’m not made of money!), but I nearly fainted right then and there in the Barboursville post office when I read it. “I just saw the documentary series ‘Planet Earth,’ and it was awesome,” my eternally loved son wrote. “If a stupid documentary maker can survive in the wilderness, so can I. Goodbye forever, don’t try to [three bear footprints that I assume mean ‘track’] me down.”

I don’t know anything about “Planet Earth,” but I do know that Planet Earth without quotation marks is big and scary and could bring harm to my Dougelstiltskin! A mother cannot rest until she knows her family is safe!

This is not the first time Doug has run off. I lost him at the Cabell County Fair when he was 5 and found him within 100 meters of the elephants, inside the trampling zone. I went to the fairgrounds to see if Doug came back, but the fair shut down some years ago after the ride-operating carneys and game-operating carneys formed opposing militias and shot up the Tilt-a-Whirl. When Doug was 9, he got stuck in a tree for four days trying to “steal an owl’s wisdom.” At 14, he flew (without telling me) to Tibet for a conference on Yeti hunting, accidentally wandered into a secret meeting on Tibetan independence, and was detained by the Chinese for three weeks. And now this! My son, the troublemaker, and now, my son, the presumed dead!

While I don’t know where my Dougy Doug Doug One Doug in a Tub is, I do have some clues. I found some of Doug’s little friends at school, and they told me he mentioned Alaska when they last spoke a year and a half ago, but Doug’s ex-girlfriend was confident that he’s “in a pit somewhere,” which Yahoo Answers tells me is either what hip-hoppers call Pittsburgh or the Pit River in California. I would go there myself to search, but my wrist has been acting up, and “Good Morning America” says the Internet puts the world at my fingertips, so why would I need to travel if I can just finger the world from home?

Douglas Rafael Augostino Erasmo Salvatore Vespiano Freide, if you are reading this, you get your naughty little tush home at once! You have no business traveling the world like this, especially if you’re on the west coast with that deadly combination of earthquakes and redwoods! You are grounded! Grounded, young man! There are fresh sheets on your bed. I am making roast beef, your favorite, next Thursday. Supper will be at 7:00.

Please help me find my son. If you know where Doug is, please send me an email at If you run into him, let him know that he is grounded and needs to come home immediately! Until then, I will be the author of Animals Among Us. Next week’s column will be about finding my son.


“Doug Freide” is a rising senior in the College. Animals Among Us appears every other Sunday.

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