Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Contessa, maltese

This story is told in 2 parts -- first the plea via the media for the return of the missing dog, then the follow-up story after the dog was reunited with the owner.

Owner pleads for stolen dog's return
Posted at: 12/18/2009
By: Kayla Anderson, Eyewityness News 4; Taryn Bianchin,

An Albuquerque woman is devastated after someone stole the dog that helped detect her breast cancer.

Reverend Josephina Chavez put her 11-year-old Maltese, Contessa, outside Tuesday morning. A couple of minutes later, her neighbor came over and told Chavez what she had seen. "She told her, ‘someone just came, drove up to your house, picked up your dog and put it in the car’," retold Karina Mora, granddaughter of the neighbor.

Chavez’s doctor certified Contessa as a service dog because she pawed at Chavez's chest before doctors found breast cancer.

The good news is the dog is micro-chipped.

“At some point or another, if somebody is bound and determined to take your pet, down the road, that'll catch up with them," said city animal welfare spokesman Rick de Reyes.

It’s been four days and Contessa hasn’t returned. Chavez says if the dog-napper won't return Contessa, they need to know that she has health problems and needs special food.

Chavez doesn't have money for a reward, but says if someone wants to come forward one way or another, she'll pay whatever she can.

"If you don't give her back, please take care of her. But, if you ever not want her, bring her back. No questions asked. Just throw her in the yard… No questions asked," Chavez said.


Woman reunited with stolen dog
Posted 12/19/2009 8:08 PM
By: Cristina Rodda, Eyewitness News 4; Charlie Pabst,

A breast cancer survivor in search of her greatest companion got her Christmas miracle when her dog "Contessa" was returned home.

Less than 12 hours after Rev. Josephina Chavez made a public plea for the safe return of her Maltese, "Contessa," she got the call she'd been praying for, thanks to one of our viewers.

John Cormier saw our report Friday, and said Saturday, "We were sitting there going why would anyone throw this lovely dog out? It's just perfect. It didn't make sense to us. When we saw the story, then it started to make sense. We knew right away that was the dog."

Rev. Chavez could not hold back the tears when she was returned with her dog "Contessa." Rev. Chavez said "Contessa" made her aware of her breast cancer by pawing at the area before it was diagnosed..

When she talked to our cameras on Friday, she didn't know that "Contessa" was safe. Cormier's mother-in-law had found it.

It turns out, whoever took "Contessa" just stopped in a neighborhood and threw it out of the car the same day it went missing.

Cormier says they took her into their home.

"We named her Christmas because of the miracle," Cormier said. "We thought we'd saved this dog but we think the real miracle is that we found her rightful owner."

The Cormier family tried to find the dog's owner, but found out its microchip wasn't registered.

They planned on keeping it until they saw the story.

Chavez says this isn't the first time someone's tried to take "Contessa," but she plans on putting a larger fence around her home to keep it from happening again.


Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Tabu, a brown mixed breed dog

Recently I snagged the corrugated cardboard "box" that a white board had arrived in, at my office, and I thought it would be good to use to make a large LOST DOG sign. And I'm involved in a lost dog search for which it might be a good resource for spreading the word effectively. I wanted to describe, and show a picture of, an intersection alert to the dog's owner. And what do you know, Kat Albrecht, founder of the Missing Pet Partnership had JUST blogged about a highly successful intersection alert she'd conducted. Enjoy the story.

Rejoice With Those Who Rejoice (Tabu's Story)
December 2009

THIS is how to recover a lost dog. We call it an ”Intersection Alert” or a ”Lost Dog Protest” and it grabs the attention of people. Missing Pet Partnership (MPP) has had great success with this recovery technique, including the rapid (15 minute) recovery of a lost Chihuahua named Sukhi at the 4th of July (see The Seattle Times story). We use giant, florescent LOST DOG posters and volunteers wearing bright green LOST PET RESCUE vests who “market” a lost dog at a major intersection in the immediate area where the dog vanished.

Volunteers Conduct Intersection Alert

Intersection alerts are most effective when conducted at major intersections with 6 to 8 volunteers during commute hours. They are highly successful on cases of lost purebred dogs that are easy to describe in a few words like “YELLOW LAB” or ”WHITE POODLE, BLUE COLLAR.” If a passersby can read a few words and visualize what the missing dog looks like, then we can get our message out to hundreds of people in a matter of hours. Well, we had none of those factors working in our favor last week when we tried to recover a mixed breed dog on the run for 9 days in her Seattle neighborhood.

“Tabu” was a 14-year-old hard-to-describe brown mixed breed dog with ears that were sometimes pointy, sometimes floppy. How do you put THAT description into five words? And we only had three volunteers: myself, Jim Branson, and Sam Franklin. Sam was there because she knew exactly what it was like to have lost a dog. Sam’s Bassett Hound, Daisy, was lost for 3 months until MPP was able to help her humanely trap the skittish dog (see Sam’s testimonial here). So it was three MPP volunteers plus Mike, Tabu’s owner. And it was noon on Saturday, not exactly rush hour traffic. We each set up at a corner and started twirling our signs.

Actually, we didn’t move the signs around like real sign twirlers do. We made it easy for drivers to read our message as they pulled up to the 4-way stop sign. We held a stack of fliers with a color photo of Tabu that included Mike and Rohini’s cell phone numbers. I found that if I held the flyer out and waved it as driver’s pulled up to the stop sign, many would roll down their passenger window so I could quickly hand it to them.

We probably handed out 500 fliers during the next few hours. At one point, I was the only one left on the corner because Sam had left for work, Mike had headed off to check on what turned out to be a false sighting, and Jim had headed off in another direction on another false sighting. I had a line of drivers who seemed pissed that I was distracting or maybe delaying them from their last minute Christmas shopping. My feet were killing me. Then it started to rain. It was at that point that discouragement hit. I began to question just why I was standing alone in the rain on a street corner. Thankfully, minutes later everything changed. A man who had one of the flyers with him called Mike. Tabu was in his front yard, laying by his porch. Mike rushed off and returned to our intersection just fifteen minutes later – with Tabu in his car!

We were all elated! After high-fiving Jim, we both followed Mike back to his house. I was there when he let Tabu inside where she drank water and ate some food. I snapped a picture as she dropped to the ground, grunted, and rolled back and forth with pleasure on a small rug on the wooden floor. Mike said Tabu rolled like that with anything that had their scent on it. I waited until Rohini got home because I wanted to see her joy. She had been torn apart with Tabu’s disappearance. Tabu had been a part of her life since she was a puppy. As Rohini gave me a big hug and thanked me, it reminded me of my signature verse. Back in 1997 when I first made the decision to help people search for their lost pets, I came across a Bible verse that confirmed that pet detective work was my calling. The verse is Romans 12:15 which says, ”Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.”

After things settled down, I asked Mike and Rohini to let me take a reunion picture of them with Tabu. The smile on Rohini’s face says it all - this family was, once again, complete. It was a good day to rejoice!


Monday, December 28, 2009

Penelope, chihuahua/JRT mix

This story comes from the files of my group of lost dog recovery volunteers, of a dog that was lost just before a snowstorm (in December 2009). The search lasted from a Thursday to a Sunday, and in that time, Penelope did have a run-in with a car that required veterinary care to include removal of an eye. But we focus on the good, which is that she was found in a few days, got that care that she needed, and she's now happy at home. We get two sides of this story:

From Penelope’s adoptors:

We adopted Penelope on a Tuesday. On Thursday around 4pm, she got spooked by something and bolted from the house. She was so fast, and we lost track of her.

It's not possible to describe how sick and worried we both felt. We were concerned that she would not have any instinct to try to find her way back home, since she hardly knew our house as home after only two days.

We immediately called the rescue group we'd adopted her through, as well as a friend who organizes searches for lost dogs. She and several other incredible folks volunteer their time to do this; their group is called AWOL Dogs. Thanks to their advice and assistance, within a few hours notices had been posted to our local listserv and Craigslist, a blog had been started, and flyers started going up around our neighborhood.

The search for Penny over the following days included emails and phone calls to area vets, churches, schools, dog walkers, etc, more listserv postings, tons of flyering, and also the assistance of a professional dog tracker.

It was a cold weekend. It snowed and rained on Saturday, which kept some folks away that had planned to come out and help. The bad timing for that kind of weather was so frustrating. I had to tell myself that Penelope was strong and smart, that she'd find a safe place to stay.

On Sunday morning we got an email from Penny's most recent foster mom, who was tireless searching along with us. She said she'd had a dream that Penny was found.

Maybe 30 minutes later the phone rang; I nearly fell over trying to grab it. It was the call we had been hoping for since Thursday! A woman's voice said, “We found Penelope and my neighbor is taking her to the animal hospital right now.” I was putting on my shoes, writing down an address, and crying all at once. My husband was already at the door, car keys in hand, saying, 'Tell me where to drive.'

We arrived at the animal hospital, and met Edward and Dawn, Penny's guardian angels. The vet took us back to see Penny and confirm that it was her. I was nervous that she might not know us, but she did and immediately started licking our hands and faces. The sense of relief was overwhelming.

Now, three weeks later, Penelope is just about 100% healed. She has fully adjusted to seeing with one eye. She is playful, silly, intelligent, and loving. She is a true gift.

From the folks who found Penelope:

Dawn and I were just getting up and about ready to make the bed. I was dawdling, putting on slippers or something, so Dawn started opening the curtains while she was waiting. She noticed a dog coming into our driveway, which we share with our neighbor's Becky Morrison and Geoff Jackson, and Dawn mentioned to me that the dog didn't seem to have an accompanying human. I wanted to rush down right away to check it out, but Dawn insisted on making the bed first.

By the time I got downstairs, the dog had wandered into Becky and Geoff's back yard, digging in the dirt and leaves by the fence. I called and made smooching noises, which seemed to make the dog wary of me. She dashed to the back of the yard and behind the garage. There's a smidgen of fence, though, behind the garage and between our two yards, so the dog was now blocked in with nowhere else to escape.

By this time Geoff had noticed that I was wandering around his back yard, so he came out and asked me what was the deal. I pointed out the dog. It seemed to have mud splashed on its head and eye, or maybe the eye was injured. We couldn't really tell.

We thought maybe we could coax it out with some food. Geoff went inside to get some cat food, while I stood watch, the dog and I watching each other from opposite sides of the garage. I knelt and made soothing cooing and smooching noises while the dog looked at me warily and shivered. I inched closer and closer and the dog let me scratch its shoulder without biting me, so I scooped it up gently and backed out of the small space.

Geoff was returning with a bowl of wet food as I was carrying the dog to our back porch. The dog scurried to the opposite corner of the porch from us and sat & shivered some more, but was hungry enough to scarf up the whole bowl of food. Dawn came out from the kitchen, where she had started to make breakfast, and took one look at the dog's eye and declared we were going to the vet immediately. She got dressed while Geoff and I watched over the dog, then I went and got dressed when Dawn returned.

Dawn and Geoff discussed having seen fliers and a notice on the listerv about a missing dog, so Geoff volunteered to do some research to find the owners while Dawn and I drove to Friendship Animal Hospital in Tenleytown, which we knew was an emergency hospital because we had taken our cat Evie there once when our regular vet Union Vet Clinic was closed for the night.

We were on our way there when you called us and suggested we go to Rockville instead. Frankly, we were just the tiniest bit lost trying to find Friendship, so we were not only relieved to be in touch with the owners, and to find out her name is Penelope, but we were thankful that you gave us actual directions to an actual hospital. Whew!

We got to the hospital and they took her back and then y'all arrived and met Dawn and me, so you know the rest.

It all just happened to work out, I think. We were actually supposed to have our nieces for the weekend, but that all got canceled because of the snow. We probably wouldn't have been getting up and making the bed at that time if we'd had the nieces, so it was lucky that Dawn spotted Penelope when she did. And it just so happens that I went out after we made the bed, at the same time Penelope was in the back yard and the only place for her to run away was behind the garage, where she was trapped and I was able to nab her. I'm glad it all worked out, but it was just luck rather than any actual skill on our part.

I'm glad Penelope is doing better and we hope to see her soon.

More info about the search for Penelope on her blog at:

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Chloe, Golden Retriever

Dog missing after car accident to be reunited with owner
By Will Jones
Published: December 25, 2009

As Jean Burton can attest, the best Christmas presents don't always come down the chimney. Sometimes, they walk on bloody paws through the garage door.

Burton took solace in her Christmas Eve yesterday, knowing that she helped return a dog to a Florida family after the animal was ejected early Saturday from a car that overturned on Interstate 295 in eastern Henrico County.

"It's like a Christmas miracle," Burton said as relatives of the dog's owner drove from Pennsylvania to Richmond for the reunion.

Chloe, a 6-year-old golden retriever mix, apparently took off after Saturday's accident and found her way to Burton's house on LaFrance Road near I-295. Burton opened her garage door during the snowstorm to let her three dogs out. Chloe walked in, leaving bloody pawprints in the snow.

Burton took care of the dog for five days and nicknamed her Madame Butterfly. "She was so ladylike," and such a contrast to Burton's male dogs, Max, Rufus and Button, she said.

Burton was talking to a niece Wednesday night when the niece recalled news reports of Saturday's accident and the lost dog. Within a few hours, relatives of Burton had contacted the family of Chloe's owner, Allison Labar. Photos and a numerical tattoo on the dog's thigh confirmed that she was Chloe. Yesterday, the animal was checked out at a local veterinarian's office and found to have a pulled tendon and other minor injuries.

"It's all things that will heal on their own," said Michelle Felmly, Labar's sister.

Labar, who suffered a broken clavicle and a dislocated shoulder in Saturday's accident and is now hospitalized with pneumonia in Pennsylvania, was overjoyed with the news that her dog had been found in good health. "She cried hysterically. She's still crying," Felmly said.

Felmly said her phone rang nonstop for four days with people in the Richmond area and as far away as Alabama and Minnesota offering assistance. She said the family was comforted by the gestures.

"All our Christmas stuff is put on hold," she said yesterday while en route to Richmond, "but this is the best gift we could possibly get."

Donna Gill, Burton's daughter, credited Chloe for picking such a loving home to seek refuge. "It was meant to be."


Friday, December 25, 2009

Boomer, JRT

Hunter returns missing dog to family
Michael A. Sawyers, Cumberland Times-News
December 24, 2009

FROSTBURG — For the Dolchan family, Christmas came early, on Dec. 22, when their blind, 14-year-old Jack Russell terrier, Boomer, was returned to them after spending five nights on Big Savage Mountain, surviving one of the worst snow storms in anybody’s memory.

Fourteen-year-old Boomer, a Jack Russell terrier, is pictured with his family, Tyler, Liam, Katie, Bill, and Madison Dolchan Wednesday evening after he was found after being lost during last weekend’s snowstorm. The dog is blind.

“We let him out to pee like we always do,” said Katie Dolchan. “It was 5:15 p.m. Dec. 17.”

Katie’s husband, Bill, said Boomer’s routine is to do his business, return to the garage and bark, whereupon the door to warmth and love is opened and Boomer re-enters for pets from the Dolchan kids, Tyler, Madison and Liam.

This time there was no barking. This time there was no Boomer. Bill readily admits that this time there was panic.

“Tyler and I started looking and couldn’t find a trace of him. For three hours we searched, driving around using a spotlight. I’m sure people thought we were trying to spotlight deer.”

Katie, who was summoned from one of her children’s activities, figured a coyote had gotten the Jack Russell. “We could hear coyotes on the mountain as we searched,” she said.

As the days wore on, Katie said Liam, 4, would say his regular prayers at night and then add “Please, God, watch over my lost doggie, Boomer.” A prayer request went forth from Emmanuel United Methodist Church, the Dolchan’s house of worship on Pocahontas Road. The prayer was realistic, according to Katie, asking anybody who had knowledge of Boomer, either dead or alive, to contact the family.

Bill said he figured that Boomer, with the family since puppyhood, was a goner.

“A lot of people have told me that old dogs wander away to die,” Bill said. “And maybe they are right, but I didn’t want that for Boomer. I want him to die in my arms when the time comes, not out on a cold mountain.”

That option remains open.

When Santa arrived at the Dolchan residence on Frostburg Road on Tuesday, it wasn’t Kris Kringle in a sled but Donnie Shingler in his pickup truck.

“They sure were happy to get their dog back,” Shingler said later in an understatement that vies for world-record status.

On Tuesday, Shingler was using his muzzleloader to hunt deer about three-quarters of a mile and uphill from the Dolchan residence.

“It’s a place I’ve hunted all my life,” said the Eckhart resident. “It was about 4 p.m. and I hadn’t even seen any tracks so I was walking out when I looked off to the side and saw something stick its head up out of the snow.”

That something was Boomer.

Shingler said he walked 25 feet through the deep snow and could see that Boomer had been in that one spot throughout the major weekend snowstorm. “He moved a little when I got to him, but it was easy to pick him up.

Shortly thereafter, Boomer was in Shingler’s pickup truck and was eating a deer bologna sandwich. “He wolfed it down,” Shingler said. Shingler, by the way, has a Jack Russell terrier of his own, a 6-year-old male named Hubble.

Shingler took Boomer to Eckhart and called his friend Dan Cutter.

Voila. Cutter happened to be a member of Emmanuel United Methodist Church and had heard the prayer request for a lost and blind family pet.

Bill Dolchan remembers his drive home Tuesday. “When I got to our driveway Tyler was running toward me carrying Boomer’s blanket and he told me Boomer was on the way home,” Bill said.

Boomer is home now. He has a little frostbite injury on his nose. He has even been allowed up on the couch, a former no-no. And, so much for privacy, he never gets to pee alone.

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Thursday, December 24, 2009

Hunter, JRT

Can you find the lesson in this story?  If your dog is lost, don't look only at the "dog found" ads on Craigslist. Look also at ads selling a dog, or "rehoming for a small fee".

Lost Wadsworth dog sold on Craigslist
May 06, 2009 16:25 PM

WADSWORTH -- A Wadsworth family is reunited with its little dog Hunter after a heart breaking three weeks of worry and searching.

Without some good "gumshoe" detective work by his owner, two-year-old Jack Russell, Hunter, may have been gone for good.

Hunter's adventure began at his front door, from which he escaped Easter Sunday.

"I actually got sick to my stomach because he is so a part of us. He's a part of our family," Hunter's owner Laurie Gordon said.

For three weeks, Gordon searched the streets, the neighborhood, even the internet for her missing dog.

Hunter ended up 20 miles down the road in the Village of Mogadore. He didn't get here by car or even on foot, but instead through the internet. It was a popular garage sale site called Craigslist.

Tony Hartman bought Hunter for $50 from a young couple who lied to him about the little dog's past.

"They were telling me the woman was actually pregnant and going to have a child and wouldn't have all the attention needed for the dog," Hartman said.

Hartman purchased the dog for his aging mother and step father who wanted companionship.

"We fell in love with the dog," Dorothy Hartman said.

Laurie also saw that Craigslist ad. While the name and age were different, this was definitely her dog.

"Instead of, 'I found a dog ad,' It was, 'I have a dog, I'm trying to find a home for a small fee,'" Laurie said.

Laurie confronted them. The couple admitted to snatching the runaway Hunter that Easter while visiting Gordon's neighbors. They admitted selling him to Dorothy.

"I had to give it back because I couldn't have slept at night knowing I had someone else's dog. It just wouldn't have been right," Hartman said.

Hunter is again behind his rightful front door, perhaps with plans of another escape.

Laurie has plans of her own. She's considering a new fence.

The Gordons are not filing charges against the young couple that picked up Hunter. Laurie hopes they learned their lesson about making a quick buck on the misery of others.


Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Leo, a Maltese

December 26, 2008
Dog-gone heartwarming Christmas tale
Jody Purdom Special to the Sun

Local resident Joe Hebel had been looking for a family to adopt for the Christmas holidays when one practically fell in his lap. It happened when one of Hebel’s beloved dogs went missing. Across town and days later, the Lansang family found little Leo and gave him back. Now it’s Hebel’s turn to give back to the family that helped save the day.

Hebel, a dog lover, lives behind Pharmaca, in a house just off Third Street West with three dogs – two of his own and one he watches for his mother, who is undergoing treatment for stage-three breast cancer. The dogs are Sam, his mother’s 12-year-old Maltese mix, Baci, a tiny one-year-old Shitzsu, and Leo, an adorable white Maltese who is six. It was Leo who got lost.

After getting ready for work one morning, Hebel opened his kitchen door and put the dogs in the garage. Little did he know that the big, outside garage door had accidentally been left open. When he went outside to get in his car he realized what had happened and, looking for the dogs he found that one, little Leo, was gone.

“I couldn’t believe that one of my dogs was missing,” said Hebel. “Being single, my dogs are like family to me. I immediately called into work and stayed home to begin searching.”

Hebel searched all day for his lost dog with the help of neighbors and friends. Unfortunately, the night before, he had taken off Leo’s collar to groom him and forgotten to put it back on. “Without his collar, there would be no way for someone to know where he lived,” said Hebel. “He is microchipped but that only works if someone finds him and takes him to the police station or Pets Lifeline. I was really worried.”

Friday quickly dragged into Saturday as Hebel put signs up along West Napa Street and throughout his neighborhood. Soon, his anxiety turned to fear that he might never see Leo again. But what Hebel didn’t know was that Leo was safe and sound with another local family who had found him.Lucena Lansang found Leo cold, dirty and looking for help at the other end of West Napa. The little dog had travelled almost the entire length in a very short span of time. She picked him up, took him home and she and her family took care of him until they could find his owner.

Lansang lives with her husband, Amador and four children in a tiny house on Riverside Drive. Three of the children, Amador Jr., Crystal, and Apol, attend Sonoma Valley High School. Another son, Angel, is just five. The family took the little dog in, kept him well fed, gave him a t-shirt to wear and even let him sleep in bed with them. But it wasn’t until Sunday that Luz was able to walk back to West Napa Street to see if there were any signs seeking a lost dog. It was then she found Hebel’s number and made the call.

“I was just ecstatic,” said Hebel. “It had been the worst 48 hours of my life and to get that call changed everything.”

Now reunited with Leo, Hebel has rewarded the family for their efforts. “I was more than happy to pay them the reward money,” said Hebel. “Luz worked really hard to take care of Leo and then to walk all the way back to look for the signs. They deserve to be recognized for all that they’ve done.”

To that end, Hebel has taken the family under his wing bringing them Christmas gifts and necessary household items. Among the presents, a bright red “big boy” bike for Angel, and a new mattress for the girls, Crystal and Apol, for the bed they share.

“This is a wonderful family,” said Hebel. “The father, Amador, works hard to support all of them with his job at Gramma’s Pizza. They have no car, no health insurance. This is the season of giving and it’s the least I can do for a family that works so hard at everything.”


Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Chaz, white dog

Chaz, the lost dog, reunited with Welland family
Posted By TONY RICCIUTO Review Staff Writer
Posted 17 hours ago

Chaz, the dog that ran away from home and was mistakenly adopted out by the Niagara Falls Humane Society, is home for the holidays. And, he's expected to be spoiled rotten this Christmas.

The Chojnicki family from Welland has been reunited with their dog, Chaz, who went missing from their six-acre rural home on Aug. 24.

The dog was picked up the next day, but the humane society failed to check the dog's ear for an identification tattoo and it eventually ended up being adopted by John "Ringo" Beam's family in Niagara Falls.

Both families wanted the dog and were prepared to fight for ownership. The Chojnicki family had the dog for five years, while the Beam family, had it for nearly three months.

Beam's 12-year-old son, Johnny, had bonded with the new dog, which he named Vincent. It was his first dog and he was reluctant to give it up.

Fortunately, the two sides were able to resolve this problem before it ended up in Small Claims Courts.

On the weekend, the Beam family returned the dog to the Niagara Falls Humane Society where it was later picked by members of the Chojnicki family.

"Thank you very much to so many people that have been calling and sending emails," said Lena Chojnicki. "In my heart, I thought we might not get him back, but when it all came through it was so nice."

After the story appeared in the Review, a Facebook group was started and more than 1,200 people posted their opinions and comments about the story. And, more that 300 people from around the globe signed an online petition to have the dog returned to the Welland family.

"He's been gone so long, but he hasn't forgotten anything. Dogs are amazing animals," said Lena, noting one of the first things Chaz did after getting home was go looking for their cat, Lloyd, which he licks and plays with on a daily basis.

Her husband, Ted, said the family never really lost hope. They kept looking and it eventually paid off when their one son noticed the dog up for adoption on the Niagara Falls Humane Society website. Unfortunately, the website had not been updated and Chaz had already been adopted.

The humane society acknowledged an error was made in this case.

The three Chojnicki boys, Adrian, 21, Justis, 23, and Alex, 25, said they are just glad to have their dog back and it was never their intention to hurt any members of the Beam family.

"There's a lot of animal lovers out there, that's for sure," said Alex, commenting on the number of people who pledged their support. "Chaz hasn't changed a bit. He was pretty excited when he saw us and he hasn't stopped smiling. It's unfortunate what had to happen, but we're just happy with the outcome."

Adrian said they had no idea what to expect once the Facebook group was started. At best, they thought one or two hundred people might respond so they were really surprised when it passed the 1,200 mark.

"It was really crazy. It seems like every body wanted to get involved and it just spread," said Adrian. "We just wanted to get Chaz back home, that was our only intention."

A family from Fort Erie contacted the Review after reading the stories and have offered the Beam family a 15-month-old dog, the same kind as Chaz, a husky and German shepherd mix, if they would like to have it for free. The family has two dogs and they need to find a home for their younger dog.

The information has been passed along to the Beam family.


Sunday, December 20, 2009

Winston, English bulldog

'Abducted' Skateboarding Bulldog Returned To Owner
Anonymous Man Reunites Winston With Owner
December 2, 2009

ANDERSON, S.C. -- A skateboarding English bulldog -- who is a celebrity in Anderson -- was returned to his owner on Wednesday after having been "abducted" the day before.

John Martin, owner of the Fox Pub, said his 2-year-old brown and white bulldog, Winston, was taken from the pub, located at 312 S. Main St., at about 3:30 p.m.

Martin said the dognapping was recorded by a surveillance camera. Martin said the video showed someone parking in a spot in front of his building and grabbing Winston while he was at a treat station for dogs.

Martin put fliers up around the downtown and offered a "substantial" reward for Winston's return.

After the story about Winston's dognapping ran on WYFF News 4 on Wednesday evening, Martin said he got a call from a man who claimed he knew where Winston was. The man, who wished to remain anonymous, told Martin to meet him at the intersection of Interstate 85 and Highway 81.

When Martin got there, he said he saw two men in a minivan. One of the men opened the vehicle's door and Winston jumped out. Martin said the man did not ask for a reward.

On Thursday morning Martin said "I'm just beyond happy having him back! Last night,we both slept like we haven't slept in a long time. All is right with the world. He (Winston) had a full meal."

Martin had said it wasn't just him who missed the dog during his absence, but the whole community. "Everybody knows Winston," he said. "He's a skateboarding dog from downtown. He is an integral part of the meet-and-greet out in the front ... He's the pub mascot."

Martin said he had Winston since the dog was six weeks old and they had been together 24 hours a day, seven days a week since.

"Winston is my son. He is my furry little son. I have no other family. He gives me unconditional love. No matter how bad my day is, he comes and puts his head on my shoulder and says, 'It's all going to be good.'"

Lolly Wenzel, owner of "Ooh La Lolly" in downtown Anderson, said, "Winston is a part of downtown just like all the businesses are, so its hard for us to believe that anybody would do something like that to Winston and John.

"He's just such a character. Most of us are dog lovers anyway and Winston is just kind of become like almost the heartbeat of downtown Anderson in a way," she said.

Martin had said he would not rest until the dog was back in his arms.

"He's a great, wonderful dog," he said.

Slideshow of Winston pictures here

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Electra, English bulldog

Lost Bulldog Finds Her Way Home
August 7, 2008

A lost English Bulldog stolen from her own backyard a year ago was reunited with her master today after she was picked up by the Miami-Dade Animal Services for wandering loose in southern Florida.

A year earlier Electra, the English bulldog, was playing in the backyard with another bulldog named Monty. The two dogs were having a good time romping around in typical doggy style, when someone jumped over the fence and grabbed both dogs.

English Bulldogs are expensive dogs, with the average cost of a puppy being anywhere from $2000 to $8000 depending on the puppy’s show potential and pedigree. It’s possible that the dognappers thought they could make some quick money by reselling the dogs on the commercial pet trade, and only later found out that older dogs can be harder to find homes for.

We may never know what happened to Monty, as officials have had no success in tracking down the younger bulldog. It’s possible there’s a family out there that purchased the pup without knowing that the dog was stolen.

As for Electra she was returned to her master after the shelter scanned her for microchips and found out who she was. After a tearful reunion with her master a plea was given for those that might know the where about of the second stolen bulldog, Monty.

If you have any information on the whereabouts of Monty, the other missing bulldog, please contact Montesdeoca at (239) 210-1175.


Friday, December 18, 2009

Puggie, a Boston terrier

Originally Published: 12/3/2009
Exeter Township family gives up adopted dog to owners who lost him
A Lebanon County family is reunited with their dog after five months

By Susan E. Miers Smith, Special Sections Editor

From left, Madeline Conley, 4, and her mother Michelle (holding dog, Puggie) with Nick, 14, Craig, and P. Sue Perotty and their boxers, Lacey and Buster. The Conleys were reunited with Puggie after the Perottys adopted him from the Humane Society of Berks County.

Berks County, PA - An old dog learned a new trick - beating the odds and being reunited with his family after five months on the run and at least two shelter stays.

Puggie, a 10½-year-old Boston terrier, escaped from his home with the Conley family in South Londonderry Township, Lebanon County, on Memorial Day weekend.

Erik Conley, his wife, Michelle, and daughter, Madeline, 4, were heartbroken. No more barrages of dog kisses, no more tug-of-war games

The Conleys adopted Puggie shortly after Sept. 11, 2001, from a rescue in their native state of Texas.

"He's the best dog we've ever had, and it absolutely crushed us to lose him," Erik Conley said in an interview Dec. 2.

He said he put signs up everywhere and faxed them to schools and police stations and called shelters in surrounding areas.

"The Humane League in Lancaster was one of the first folks I called," Erik said.

He gave Puggie's unique physical and collar descriptions, but heard nothing.

Erik, who works for Dell computers, even offered a free laptop to any student in his area that helped to find Puggie.

Fast forward to Oct. 12. An aging Boston terrier was received by the Humane League of Lancaster County. The male dog had been picked up by the Organization for Responsible Care of Animals while walking along Main Street in Terre Hill, Lancaster County, according to Kerry Flanagan, vice president of operations for the Humane League.

The dog was wearing a red nylon collar, not what Puggie had been reported wearing when he was lost 4½ months earlier.

"Someone must have had possession of him," Flanagan said. "I'm assuming the dog didn't go out and buy a new collar itself."

Flanagan said her agency did receive Conley's lost dog report on May 26, but with the amount of time that had passed, the location the dog was found and the different collar, no one picked up that it could be Puggie.

The Boston terrier was at the Humane League for only three days. The organization has an agreement with the Humane Society of Berks County that they will take dogs they feel they can place if they have open kennels.

Here is where the Perotty family of Exeter Township comes into the picture.

P. Sue Perotty was looking for a small dog to adopt. Her son, Nick, 14, had always wanted a small lap dog.

The Perottys' two boxers, Buster, 8, and Lacey, 4, are a bit too big to sit on laps, although that does not stop them from trying, Sue said.

When they saw the Boston terrier on the HSBC Web site, they knew they had to meet him.

The dog was listed as being about 6 years old, but he looked older in person Perotty said.

"He was shivering like a leaf, and he just broke my heart," she said during a Nov. 20 interview.

The Perottys adopted the dog Oct. 27 and took him home.

Shortly after the Perottys' adoption, Erik Conley was at a meeting at Albright College where he told a colleague from Norristown who was also there about the heartache of losing Puggie.

Erik described Puggie in detail - his smaller-than-average Boston stature, his patch of black fur over one eye and his drooping ears. The colleague said the dog sounded a lot like one he just had seen at the HSBC while looking for a dog with his family.

"I immediately looked at the Web site and there he was," Conley recalled.

The adoption video the HSBC had created on You Tube for the aging Boston was still posted.

Conley called the HSBC and spoke with Tammy Carannante, kennel and rescue coordinator. She explained Pennsylvania's law that only requires shelters to keep dogs for 48 hours before putting them up for adoption or euthanizing them.

"Usually, the dog turns out not to be the same dog, but it seemed extremely likely that the adopted dog was actually Puggie," said Carannante in an HSBC press release. "We verified that the dog was a match and that Mr. Conley had filed all the appropriate loss reports in his surrounding county's animal shelters."

Carannante contacted the Perottys and they agreed to give Puggie back back to the Conleys.

The reunion took place Nov. 15 when Michelle Conley came to the HSBC's North 11th Street facility with her daughter, Madeline, to pick up Puggie. Erik Conley was out of town on business.

Madeline squealed with delight when she saw Puggie according to her mother and Sue Perotty.

"We didn't tell her at first, until we were sure we could actually get him back," Erik said.

Perotty said seeing Madeline's reaction and how Puggie ran to greet her made it easier for her son Nick to give up his new friend.

Erik Conley said he was expecting some resistance from the Perottys. Legally, they had no obligation to return Puggie.

"I was blown away by her kindness," Erik said. "It pretty much brought me to tears. She wouldn't take a reimbursement."

He said he plans to make a donation to the HSBC in Perotty's honor.

Carannante said Dec. 3 that Puggie's case was the longest time between when a dog was missing and then reunited that she has ever personally been involved with.

The Humane League's Flanagan said the reunion was atypical in her experience as well. In 2008, 18 percent of the dogs taken in by the Humane League were reclaimed by their owners she said, but none with as long a lost time as Puggie.

What was Puggie doing for 4½ months? He lost a few pounds, got an ear infection, but was otherwise physically unscathed.

The Conley home is literally on the border between Dauphin and Lebanon counties, so how Puggie traveled more than 40 miles to Terre Hill is a mystery.

"I guess if he had had a camera on it would make a great movie," Erik said.



Interesting press release . . .

CONTACT: Karel Minor
Office: 610-921-2348, ext. 10

Boston Terrier Lost Since May, Transferred Between Counties, and Adopted is Reunited with Family: A Cautionary Tale

The Humane Society of Berks County (HSBC), the leader in animal welfare, announced that reunited a dog named “Puggy” with his family last week. While such reunions are not unheard of, Puggy’s story is unusual.

Puggy, a ten year old Boston Terrier, had been lost since May when he escaped from his home on the border of Lebanon and Dauphin County. He was found, his dog tags having been lost or removed, and taken to the Humane League of Lancaster County where he was held for the State mandated stray holding period and then placed up for adoption.

He was then transferred to the Humane Society of Berks County, where he was quickly adopted by an Exeter Family. “That would usually be considered the end of the story, and a happy end at that,” said Karel Minor, Executive Director of the Humane Society of Berks County.

However, the day after Puggy’s adoption, his original owner, Erik Conley, was telling a client who works at Albright College about losing his beloved family pet and all of his efforts to find Puggy. The client said the dog sounded like a dog he had just seen at the Humane Society of Berks County. Erik quickly went to, saw the YouTube adoption video still online, and quickly contacted the Humane Society of Berks County. He spoke to HSBC Kennel Coordinator, Tammy Carannate.

“Usually, the dog turns out not to be the same dog but it seemed extremely likely that the adopted dog was actually Puggy,” said Carannante. “We verified that the dog was a match and that Mr. Conley had filed all the appropriate lost reports in his surrounding county’s animal shelters.”

Unfortunately, by the time Puggy entered an animal shelter, enough time and distance had elapsed that the reports were not matched up with the right dog and it was only by chance that the connection was made. Here is where the story often turns emotional and confrontational.

Pennsylvania law provides for only a 48 hour stray period for stray dogs, and none for cats and other animals. After that public display period is over, dogs may be adopted into new families or worse, face euthanasia. If adopted, the original owner has only limited rights to reclaim the pet, especially if there was no identification on the animal and if all State and local laws were followed. The only recourse is to file a law suit and attempt to reclaim the dog from the new adopter, who has often already fallen in love with their new pet.

It is for this reason the Humane Society of Berks County strongly encourages every pet owner to microchip his or her pets. Microchips provide permanent and immediate identification and proof of ownership of a pet. Had Puggy been microchipped, he would almost certainly have been identified as belonging to the Conley family when he entered the first animal shelter. The Humane Society of Berks County has reunited pets with owners from around the country because of the discovery of implanted microchips.

Puggy is very fortunate to have been identified quickly after adoption and to have been adopted by Sue Perrotty and her family. Sue was willing to confirm Puggy's identity and agreed to return him to his original family. “It was heartwarming to see the Conley’s 4 year old daughter squeal, ‘It's my Puggy!’ as he ran to greet her and it helped my son feel better about giving up his new found friend.”

Such reunions after long periods of time and great distances are not common. A microchip would have ensured the swift return of Puggy, as well as helping to avoid the heart ache felts by the Perrotty family when giving up their new pet. Perrotty continued, “I have both of my dogs chipped, just in case they ever get lost, because I know I would be devastated.”

Fortunately, Puggy is now microchipped since every cat and dog adopted out by the Humane Society of Berks County is microchipped prior to adoption.  The Humane Society of Berks County serves all of Berks County and surrounding communities. It is a private, non-profit organization funded through donations and service fees. In addition to enforcing Pennsylvania’s animal cruelty laws for all of Berks County, the Humane Society provides adoption services, spay and neuter services, humane education, pet behavioral counseling, veterinary services to the general public, and helps stray, injured and mistreated animals. The Humane Society is located at 1801 N. 11th Street, Reading, and 1201 Ben Franklin Highway E., Douglassville.


Thursday, December 17, 2009

Sherman, a cocker spaniel

Sherman Runs Away
By Lila Freilicher
Dec 14, 2009

The weather was pleasantly warm that summer day in Connecticut, just right for rolling down the windows in my brother in law’s car. I sat in the back with my boyfriend, Boz, and my sweet cocker spaniel, Sherman, between us. We were crammed in very tight and my knees were pressed up against the back of the driver’s seat. It was not comfortable, but the distance was short, the company delightful, and Sherman was meeting my family for the first time.

With Sherman I had discovered a new kind of love. I was pushing 65, but he was my first dog, having always thought of myself as a “cat person.” I was madly in love with him—with his irresistibly soft fur, big brown eyes, and endearing way of pressing his chubby body close to mine when I was sad, hurting, or scared.

In the sliver of a second a pleasant day turned horrific. I felt the crushing impact against my chest as the car rammed into a vehicle at the intersection. My left knee hit hard against the seat in front of me. I heard myself screaming in fear and pain. The air felt cold as ice (they tell me that is from shock), but I never lost consciousness. I called out to make sure everyone was okay. They were. There were air bags in the front seat and, next to me, Boz had seen it coming, and had braced himself and Sherman for the impact.

I was alone inside the car waiting for EMS to get me out of the wreck. I could see the others just outside and Boz holding Sherman on his leash. I’m told that I let out a blood-curdling scream when I realized something terrible had happened to my leg. I saw my thighbone popping outward and pressing against the skin! My scream frightened Sherman so much that he slipped right out of his collar and launched like a rocket, racing down the road.

I saw Boz take off after him, running and running and running, and then they were both out of sight. I was still waiting for EMS when Boz returned without Sherman. Despite my pain nothing seemed more frightening than losing Sherman. I kept calling his name, tearfully; not wanting to leave while Sherman was missing and possibly lost forever.

At the hospital I lay flat on my back waiting for tests and painkillers, but the only pain I remember was feeling the loss of my Sherman. It seemed to me that nothing could be worse than losing him. I was diagnosed with a broken femur. It was fractured right through above a knee prosthesis, which had been put in only six months before. I had severe burns and bruises from the seat belt, but it may have saved my life.

Several hours later I heard that Sherman was saved too—thanks to the kindness of strangers. When he ran down the road, he veered off into the backyard (and from there into the woods) of a wonderful family who themselves had a much loved pet. They told Boz not to worry, that they would find him. True to their word they organized their neighbors into a posse, and set off to scour the woods. They didn’t give up, even after dark. They searched on, long into the night, and finally did find him. He was not injured. They brought him home, and Boz picked him up the next day.

Knowing Sherman was safe allowed me to face the pain and challenge that lay ahead. Even now, six months later and still healing, Sherman’s love and devotion helps me to keep going.

Terrible things happen to good people every day—far worse than what happened to me. Nevertheless, in my life, that accident was a tragedy. For many years I suffered debilitating pain due to severe osteoarthritis in both knees. In March 2008, I finally garnered the courage to have my right knee replaced. In a few short months I felt better than I had in many years. I expressed my joy by rather spontaneously getting my beautiful cocker puppy. Five months later, in January 2009, I underwent replacement surgery on my other knee, looking forward to a second excellent recovery.

Indeed, in a few short months I was walking without a cane and without pain for the first time in so many years! I was finally able to enjoy the outdoors with Sherman, walking a mile to the dog run, and happily taking him on my city errands: a girl and her dog. I envisioned traveling for the first time in years and experiencing life fully once again.

Then, only 3 months later the car wreck cut short my newfound freedom. In just one and a half years I had had to endure three major orthopedic surgeries, and once again, the frustration of not being able to walk.

Broken femurs take a long time to heal, and often they don’t heal properly. It is now 6 months since the accident. It looks promising that I will walk again thanks to a famous surgeon and to Boz, who has been there for me every day of my recovery.

For several months Sherman jumped at the slightest sound—even pots and pans clattering in the kitchen. He imagined enemies hiding behind doors and waiting to pounce from above the kitchen cabinets. Slowly he regained his confidence, and is now back to his sweet, well adjusted self.

Whatever the future brings, I know that my Sherman will help brighten every day with his love and devotion. And when I need strength and hope I will get it from the gratitude I feel to Boz and to the kind strangers who rescued my beloved pup.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

A dog in Cheverly

One of the members of our group of lost dog search volunteers hosted a holiday gathering at her house, a potluck.

At one point when folks were still arriving, there was a knock at the door that we expected to be another guest arriving. But it was a neighbor of the host's, someone that lives a street or two over. He had encountered an unaccompanied dog wandering around the neighborhood. The dog had a similar look to one of the host's dogs, so the guy assumed it was hers. He had already called the shelter and the microchip registry, and now he thought he was bringing the dog home when he brought it to the house where the holiday potluck for lost dog search volunteers happened to be taking place.

Our host said no, it wasn't her dog, but she'd be glad to take the dog in and find its owner. The man was a little surprised but he took her up on her offer and left the dog with us.

She put the dog in a crate, and called the number on the microchip tag hanging from its collar.

The other necessary phone calls must have taken place, because after a little while, the dog's owner came and got her pet, and took him (or her?) home.

So what happened is that even while partying together, we reunited a lost dog with its owner! As I told my Facebook friends, our group works tirelessly, never letting up in our efforts to help lost dogs find their way home!!!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Tarzan, Yorkshire Terrier

Here's a situation which called for media attention, and who knows what would have happened if they didn't get it. I don't know what the woman that found the dog was thinking, but I'm glad she fumbled like she did. It helped get the dog home.

"Dognapping" Story Ends Happily As Pup Reunited With Owners Staff
It sounds like the makings of a Hollywood script, but it was reality for a Toronto family after their pet was apparently snatched off a west end street earlier this week.

Dog owner and mother Sharon Weeden's Yorkshire terrier Tarzan went missing two days ago in the King and Dufferin area. She received a call that her family's beloved pet had been found but then the seemingly simple situation turned into a canine caper.

"He is so loveable and we miss him so, so much and we would do anything to get this little dog back," Weeden said Thursday.

The family was overjoyed when they received the call from a woman who said she'd found the dog just hours after he went missing, but their hopes were crushed when they received another call from the same person about an hour later.

"She called back and said the dog wasn't on a leash, you don't deserve the dog and I'm keeping your dog," Weeden explained.

"I thought this woman could not be an animal lover because if she was she would know how valuable pets are to families."

But just as quickly as things went wrong, they were put right again. Just hours after a story about Weeden's situation ran on CityNews at Six, Tarzan was turned into the Humane Society, and by late Thursday night was back with his rightful owner.

"I want to thank Citytv for airing our story and helping get Tarzan home," Weeden said while holding her beloved pet in her arms.

Like we said, it had the makings of a Hollywood script, complete with a happy ending.

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Saturday, December 12, 2009

Ace, black lab mix

The animal shelter in Miami Dade County FL has a dedicated team of volunteers that work to find the owners of stray dogs coming in to the shelter. When you look at what they do, it might seem like all shelters should have those services as a matter of routine. But I think in truth, not so many do. They call themselves pet detectives, and that alone probably helps them get volunteers to do the work, which is great. It's not always easy to find the owner of a stray or wandering dog.

Pet Detective Cases Solved
Case #4

On Sep 13th at 6am, our old dog “Ace” seemed to vanish in the dark while we were loading up our trailer to go to the motocross track. He had never ventured more than 2 blocks due to his poor medical condition. You see, he is 14 yrs old deteriorating with kidney failure, severe arthritis in both back legs, arthritis in his back and untreatable tumors. He is on nature’s delicate list of limited time.

We searched the entire day and everyday thereafter. We posted over 30 signs, listed him on every possible online site. We passed our over 100 fliers daily to everyone jogging, walking dogs, etc. The only calls we received were from people wondering if he had been located. We began to search every canal in the area as our hopes began to diminish. We were doubtful we would ever find him alive after 48 hours due to his failing health and painful challenges to walk.

My heart was crushed with guilt as I continued to envision “Ace” suffering somewhere on the side of a road or yard, unable to get home. I believe I could easily handle his passing at home with us, but not this way.

Six days later on Thursday morning at 7am, Fabi Dongo, a volunteer at the shelter called to say she had seen a dog with a similar face brought on Wed night. She said “I saw a dog brought into the shelter and even though this dog is listed as a female, the face is very similar. The listing could be a mistake.” I told her that I visit the shelter daily and would definitely check it out. She gave me the ID # of the dog.

I went to the shelter and spoke with the Lost and Found department and told the young lady of the call from Fabi. She cross referenced the dog’s ID with Ace’s micro chip number. IT WAS MATCH !! It was ACE !! He had been picked up by Mr. David Jordan on Wed evening on 17 Sep at 10pm. He had actually survived alone for 6 days!! I felt as though a ton of bricks had been lifted and I was extremely anxious to see him.

It was easy to understand why he had been listed under the wrong gender. He has long hair and his back legs are so crippled with arthritis you can’t touch them without him causing pain. So a gender guess became a necessity.

As we drove home I felt such a great sigh of relief as I watched him literally pass out from exhaustion on the seat. He slept for hours and hours when he got home. I phoned all my family, friends and neighbors involved in his recovery. Everyone was shocked and elated to hear Ace was back. Since his return he has moments of easy recognition and other times, he appears disoriented.

As all jobs, I am sure certain times reflect a feeling of thanklessness. But, please tell Fabi and David Jorden and all the employees of the Animal Shelter “Next time you think its just another dog... look deep in their eyes and many times you will see love surrounding that old crippled animal.”

On Sept 18th, Ace was the first one out the door, my personal “pick of the litter!”

Isn’t it good to know Animal Services’ strays have such a dedicated team of PD volunteers trying to find their owners? Join the Pet Detectives Club:

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Friday, December 11, 2009

Buddy, a beagle

Buddy the Beagle is rescued!
By Jamie Biesiada
Dec 10, 2009

MANASQUAN — Christmas miracles really do happen, and the Kelley family just received the best gift possible — Buddy the Beagle, their beloved dog who had been missing since Aug. 31, was returned to them and reunited with his family.

Buddy, a four-year-old beagle, was reunited with his New Jersey family on Monday after 98 days spent on an uninhabited New Jersey island.

After months during which his owners undertook a massive search effort in the area surrounding Fisherman’s Cove, here, where he went missing, Buddy was returned to owners Edie, 66, and Charlie Kelley, 67, on Monday night, Dec. 7.

Throughout the grueling three months without Buddy, the Kelleys said they never gave up hope and always thought they would find Buddy safe and sound. Their diligence had residents throughout the southern Monmouth County and northern Ocean County area talking about Buddy at football games, family dinners, bars, in school and on the Internet. In the Manasquan and Brielle area, Buddy’s picture could be seen on lost dog flyers posted on dozens of telephone poles.

“We just kept at it,” Mrs. Kelley said. “We’ve been coming down every day since he was lost.”

Now that Buddy has been reunited with his family, “we’re just ecstatic,” Mrs. Kelley said. “What a great Christmas present!”

Their son, Patrick, 46, and granddaughters Alyssa, 16, and Shannon, 12, are equally overjoyed to have Buddy back.

“Muskrat” Jack Neary was ultimately responsible for finding Buddy after he set out several safe traps on Gull Island County Park and Conservation Area in Ocean County. Mr. Neary is the animal control officer for the borough of Point Pleasant Beach. He got involved with finding Buddy after speaking with Mrs. Kelley, telling her if Buddy was on Gull Island, he would find him. Mr. Neary volunteered his time and expertise to help locate Buddy.

Gull Island is a 48-acre island that lies in the Manasquan River between the Manasquan Inlet and the Route 35 Bridge, just north of Channel Drive and Broadway in Point Pleasant Beach.

The Kelley family, along with an anonymous donor who came forward and offered to match the Kelley’s reward of $500, were preparing to present Mr. Neary with the $1,000 reward for Buddy’s return yesterday.

Though 4 year-old Buddy lost 16 pounds during his ordeal, Mrs. Kelley was happy to say he is in good health otherwise.

The saga of Buddy began when he was lost on Aug. 31, when the Kelley family, of Eatontown, last saw him at Fisherman’s Cove in Manasquan. Fisherman’s Cove, often called the “dog beach,” was where Buddy broke away from his leash after something “spooked” him when he was coming out of the water after swimming, Mrs. Kelley said, and he took off running.

From Fisherman’s Cove, Buddy ran onto Third Avenue, and then onto Brielle Road, running toward Brielle and away from the Manasquan beach. The Kelleys have been searching for Buddy in Manasquan, Brielle, Wall Township and on Gull Island ever since.

Throughout November, the Kelleys received several phone calls from fishermen who reported seeing a dog running on the beach on Gull Island. One of the fishermen, Brian Newman of Wall Township, brought the Kelleys to Gull Island by boat to search, but they did not find Buddy that day.

Nearly a week later, the New Jersey State Police, Marine Patrol Division, Point Pleasant, sent a search team to the island, as well, after receiving a report of a lost Beagle there.  The Coast Guard, with a station nearby in Point Pleasant, had also reported seeing Buddy on security cameras pointed in the direction of Gull Island. They reported the sightings to Mr. Neary.  The day after Thanksgiving, the Kelleys, along with friends and family, headed to Gull Island.

“We parked at Gull Island’s parking lot on Broadway, and walked along the railroad tracks until we found a man-made clearing through the weeds and marsh,” Mrs. Kelley said. They made their journey at low tide.

“We called and called and called,” she said. “But no Buddy.”  The same search was repeated the Saturday and Sunday after Thanksgiving, Mrs. Kelley said, but to no avail. However, the Kelleys continued to receive calls of a Beagle spotted on Gull Island.

On Nov. 30, “Muskrat” Jack offered to put a trap on Gull Island. He was prepared to use several, but after visiting the island and spotting Buddy once, he believed one trap in a strategic location would be enough.

Mr. Neary said when he initially saw Buddy, the Beagle ran by him “like a Greyhound.” But, he then knew for sure Buddy was still on Gull Island.  Mr. Neary’s efforts paid off this past Monday afternoon.

Around 3 p.m., he placed the first trap on the island. He went back later that afternoon, and, a little after 4:30 p.m., he called his wife, Nancy, who was at home with the Kelleys’ phone number, and told her to call Mrs. Kelley and give her the good news.

“‘He’s got your dog!’” Mrs. Kelley recalled Mrs. Neary excitedly saying.  Mrs. Kelley’s reaction, she remembered, was pure excitement.

“Oh my God, he’s got him, he’s got him!” she yelled.

When he first saw Buddy inside the trap, “he looked tired,” Mr. Neary said. He also appeared emaciated. Mr. Neary said, “I got a lump in my throat” just looking at Buddy.

The Kelleys immediately drove to meet Mr. Neary and Buddy in a nearby parking lot on Broadway in Point Pleasant Beach.

“He [Mr. Neary] was phenomenal,” Mrs. Kelley said.

“The dog is a miracle,” Mr. Neary added. “That poor little dog was the one who kept himself alive out there for 98 days. I just offered him a ride home.”

Mr. Neary said there is no source of fresh water on the island, and there is little food for a dog. He heard from the Coast Guard that Buddy was seen dragging dead Sea Gulls over the beach, but Mr. Neary said in his experience with Sea Gulls, they do not have much meat on them.

To lure Buddy into the safe trap, Mr. Neary said, he used special bait. Asked what that bait was, Mr. Neary replied, “It is a total trade secret.”

Mr. Neary and the Kelley family loaded the trap, with Buddy still inside, into a car and drove to the vet’s office. Mrs. Kelley explained Mr. Neary did not want to remove Buddy from the trap, afraid he would be frightened at all the excitement and that he might run off again.

The Kelleys’ vets, Scott Turk and Darren Weisenstein of 4 Paws Animal Hospital, Englishtown, said Buddy was generally healthy, but underweight.  His potassium levels were slightly low and his liver function was a little off, Mrs. Kelley explained, but the vets informed her those issues would work themselves out in time. Buddy has another check-up appointment in three weeks.

“Everything’s fine,” Mrs. Kelley said.

During the months Buddy was missing, he lost a total of 16 pounds. That brought Buddy from his original weight of 35 pounds to a rib-revealing 19 pounds.

“He’s skinny as all get-out,” Mrs. Kelley said. They were advised to feed him several small meals a day so he can safely re-gain weight, which they have been doing, she said.

After his visit to the vet, Buddy finally returned home.

“When he walked in the house it was like he never left,” Mrs. Kelley said. He “trotted” around various rooms, sniffed the Kelleys’ other dogs, and settled down.
Buddy the Beagle was found on Monday afternoon after being lost at Fisherman’s Cove in Manasquan on Aug. 31. He was found on Gull Island by “Muskrat” Jack Neary, and has been reunited with his family

It is still a mystery how Buddy made it to Gull Island. The younger Mr. Kelley said he did not believe Buddy would have swam across the Manasquan River to get there, and guessed that he probably walked across the nearby railroad track bridge that connects Monmouth County’s Brielle to Ocean County’s Point Pleasant Beach, and runs right next to Gull Island.

Mr. Neary said it was possible he walked across the tracks if the railroad bridge was down to let trains cross, but he was not really sure how Buddy made it to Gull Island.

But, Mr. Neary said, “I’m glad it worked out for the dog. It was a happy ending … I’m glad we could end the year on a happy note.”

“I cannot begin to tell you how thrilled that I am that Buddy was found,” the anonymous reward donor said. “It’s a real Christmas miracle!”

Another version of the story here

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Thelma, small terrier

Pet detectives with dogs trained to trail the scent of a missing pet do fascinating work, and their stories can be riveting. But I don't often get to see their stories in print, probably at least in part because once one case is over, they are off to the next one. (This is true in my area, at least; we are lucky to have two living within an hour of my home.) Here's a pet detective's story of something very unusual -- a walkup find!

Kelsy finds Thelma
Jim Branson, MAR Technician

Thelma is a 10-pound Terrier who only lived with her new family for two days before bolting out the front door when something startled her.

For over a week, Lani and her family and friends searched for Thelma, sometimes for 12 hours a day. Many people had spotted Thelma on the run, but each time they tried to catch her, they made her run farther. Based on the sightings, this little girl ran for over five miles, and probably much farther if you count the circling and backtracking. Last night, the low was about 15 degrees.

Lani called the Missing Pet Partnership, and I got the case because I've had a bit of experience with dogs on the run. I told Lani that having Kelsy come out for a search might not be the final answer because we could end up chasing Thelma farther, even though we would take steps to avoid that if possible. Given Thelma's tiny size, and the forecast for lows in the teens and twenties for the next few days, we decided to try a search anyway, fearing that if we didn't catch her soon, it could be too late.

Kelsy and I started searching at the point last seen, a large industrial park by 522 in Woodinville. Kelsy took a good long sniff at the scent article, and charged off on the trail, dragging me through blackberries behind the warehouses. We made many circles of the complex, until we found a stream and a pond. This was one of the few sources of liquid water because most ditches and streams had frozen. We found food wrappers shredded under a large cedar tree, so it seemed some animal had foraged a meal there. Kelsy fell in the pond, not realizing how deep it was, and I had to haul her out by her harness. She shook the water off, but the cold water in the freezing air immediately turned to ice, giving Kelsy a frosting of small icicles for the next half hour, not that she cared at all. We searched from 9:30 until about 3:00, checking likely hiding areas, but Kelsy never pulled as hard as she did at the beginning of the trail. I was just about to quit for the day when Lani got the call of a sighting on the other side of 522.

I started Kelsy on that trail, at the point last seen, with the scent about 20 minutes old. Kelsy followed to a gap under a fence, and we had to ask permission to search inside the property of a mini-storage. She showed interest in a covered parking area, where Thelma may have spent the night in relative shelter. Then Kelsy followed the trail to another gap in the fence, leading to a swampy patch of brambles beside the freeway. I didn't want to follow because a tiny Terrier could slip underneath the brambles, whereas Kelsy and I would be torn up. Also, we would make so much noise getting through that we would just scare Thelma further away if she were in there. At that point, I had convinced myself that Thelma was out of reach for the day, and decided to call off the search until we received a new sighting. We would work with signs to draw attention, and Lani could use a night vision scope to look around the area after dark. On the chance that Thelma had doubled back again, or that Kelsy had followed the trail in reverse, I took Kelsy for one last sweep of the perimeter of the storage lot, just in case. She showed interest in the grounds of a manufacturing plant, but I didn't have permission to enter the property. Kelsy's interest was not the urgent pulling I would have expected if we were hot on Thelma's trail, so I had again decided to quit for the day. It was just about sunset, and Kelsy had been searching for over six hours.

Lani asked us to wait a minute while she asked for permission to search the property of the business, and when she got the okay, Kelsy and I strolled up the back side of the plant, not really expecting to find anything. Usually, when Kelsy gets close to her target, she pulls so hard I can barely stay on my feet. I can't restrain her, and I just have to concentrate on not falling on my face. I don't know if it was because she was tired, but she just trotted along as if she was casually interested in something, not about to make her first walk-up find. We came to the corner farthest from the street, and Kelsy started to sniff about the landscaping very cautiously. We checked around the back side of some large evergreen trees, and Kelsy pinpointed a spot under a branch that swept down to the ground. I lifted the branch, and I was actually surprised to see two little eyes looking back at me.

Now, I always tell people whose dogs are in flight mode: 1. Don't stare straight at the dog. 2. Don't call the dog's name. 3. Don't grab for the dog. The reason is that any of these actions can cause the dog to flee again, making your job harder. So, I'm looking right at this dog, staring in disbelief that we've found her, and I realize I'm not supposed to be staring at her, but I can't help myself. Then, before I know it, I'm saying her name. She still isn't moving. I'm just about to make a grab for her, even though I know it's the wrong thing to do, and I feel like I'm fighting myself, trying to stop my arm from going forward. But she still hasn't moved a muscle. She is just curled up in the dirt, staring back at me. Finally, after what seems like years but is probably only a few seconds, I shoot out a hand and grab her. I'm so relieved that I didn't scare her away again that I don't care that she's nipping me. I did everything wrong and got lucky anyway.

As I walked back toward the street with Thelma wrapped in my arms, I tried to tell Kelsy what a good girl she was, and how proud I was of her for finding Thelma, but Kelsy's expression seemed to say, "Why are you carrying her, the bad dog who ran away, when you could be carrying me in your arms?" When I was finally able to hand Thelma off to an overjoyed and relieved Lani, I gave Kelsy her Victory Cheese, and praised her for a job well done. After six and a half hours of hard searching, probably covering five miles of asphalt, swamps, and brambles, Kelsy got her man. She slept very soundly on the ride home.

MAR Technician Amy Adams provided considerable help in the search, often going ahead of me and securing permission to search private properties, making Kelsy's job much easier. Lani is really the one who found Thelma, by refusing to give up and pushing me to search one more area when I was ready to call it a day. Thelma is very lucky to have Lani watching over her.


Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Cody, a Great Pyrenees

A white dog dances again
By Lisa Marchesoni
Posted: Sunday, December 24, 2006 10:14 am
A 4-year-old California girl believed someone would answer her letter seeking to find her white puppy lost half a continent away.

Kennedy and Morgan Pilgrim love their dog Cody.

A retired Murfreesboro couple's connection to a romantic, white dog story made the little girl's belief become a reality.

As Morgan Pilgrim enjoys Christmas tomorrow in California, she'll celebrate being reunited with her beloved giant puppy Cody — thanks to Bill and Betsy Clark of Sulphur Springs Road, and their fateful link with "To Dance with the White Dog."

Morgan, her 3-year-old sister Kennedy and their parents, Seth and Suzanne, life in Sacramento, Calif., but fell in love with the Middle Tennessee lifestyle during a visit with family earlier this year, said mother Suzanne Pilgrim.

"We wanted our girls to grow up with that (lifestyle) rather than the California mentality," Pilgrim said.
While awaiting their move this week, they moved in with her mother whose yard didn't have a fence.

Cody, their Great Pyrenees dog, was moved about three months ago to Lascassas to stay with Morgan's Uncle Steve Prince.

But on the night of Oct. 16, Cody didn't want to come inside so Prince left him outside. Cody disappeared.

Prince searched for Cody and asked neighbors if they had seen him. His sister, Suzanne, frantically called veterinarian offices and the county's Pet Adoption Welfare Services.

She flew to Rutherford County Oct. 31 and distributed about 100 flyers with Cody's picture. She visited at PAWS where she learned a Great Pyrenees dog died near their new home on Wayward Trail off Jefferson Pike near Lascassas. She believed the dog was Cody.

"My girls were devastated," Pilgrim said. "They kept saying prayers Cody would be there when we got there. They bonded with him. He followed the girls everywhere they went."

The family was heartbroken. Morgan didn't give up.

"I wrote a letter to the post office all about Cody," Morgan explained in a telephone interview. "I sent some toys in case he would not come home — and snacks."

Morgan believed the mailman knew everyone and would be able to distribute her message about her lost dog. The family mailed the letter and waited.

In mid-November, retired sports editor Bill Clark of Sulphur Springs Road stayed awake late one night. He spotted an animal outside his home near Nice Mill.

"I didn't know if it was a wolf," Clark remembered. "It was nosing around the door. I realized it was a dog."

He approached the dog that seemed gentle. He called out to his wife, Betsy, a former elementary school teacher, about the white dog. Betsy Clark, who has a keen sense of humor, first reacted by pinching herself to see if she was still alive.

Her reaction came because of the couple's connection to a novel by Terry Kay, a writer her husband met while working in Atlanta. Kay wrote, "To Dance with the White Dog." The Clarks had seen the movie starring Jessica Tandy. Betsy Clark summarized the plot of the love story.

When his wife of 57 years died suddenly, Sam Peek, 81, told his worried children about a beautiful white dog only he could see. Peek believed his wife returned as the dog.

So, Betsy Clark climbed out of bed to see the "beautiful" white dog. Her husband agreed with her description.

"He's the most spectacular dog, appearance-wise, I've ever seen," Bill Clark said. "He was dirty. He didn't look like a dog that had been starving."

They fed the dog for several days. On the third day, Betsy Clark called PAWS to locate the owner.

She appreciated the unidentified PAWS employee who flipped through pages and pages of information until he found a lost Great Pyrenees with a blue collar along with Pilgrim's name and number.

Betsy Clark was unsure because the white dog wore a yellow collar but she telephoned Pilgrim in California.

When Pilgrim received Clark's call, she was skeptical because she believed Cody was deceased and because of the yellow collar.

"If she wasn't so persistent, we probably wouldn't have gone," Pilgrim recalled.

Pilgrim sent her brother Prince to check out the white dog located about 20 miles away from where Cody disappeared. Betsy Clark got in Prince's car and they drove around searching for Cody. They couldn't find him.

When Cody returned later, Clark notified Prince who examined the dog with the yellow collar. At first, Cody didn't seem to recognize Prince. Prince wasn't sure if the dog was Cody.

When Prince started to walk away, Cody jumped on him and Prince realized it was Cody. The collar had faded but showed a blue tint on the back. When Prince took him home, Cody nudged the doorknob like he was trained to indicate he wanted to go outside, reinforcing to Prince the dog was indeed Cody.

Prince drove Cody cross-country to California in early December so Morgan and Kennedy could spend the Christmas holiday with their pet.

"When they woke up in the morning and saw him, they were screaming," Pilgrim said. "He was acting like a little puppy. I knew for sure it was Cody."

Morgan is happy Cody returned home.

"I played with him," Morgan said. "I got him toys for Christmas. He will sleep with you."

Morgan and her mother called the Clarks to thank them for rescuing Cody.

Betsy Clark said she heard Morgan's "sweet little voice saying, 'Thank you for reading my letter.'"

Although she didn't receive the letter, Clark informed her mail carrier he might get some attention from a trusting little girl.

The Clarks, who make visitors feel welcome at their home, invited the Pilgrims to visit after the family settles this week into their new Rutherford County home. Pilgrim can't wait to meet her new friend.

"I think she's wonderful," a grateful Pilgrim said of Betsy Clark. Betsy Clark said Pilgrim sent a thank you card and "adorable" photographs of Morgan and Kennedy with Cody.

"It made my Christmas," Clark said.

Source: or

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

George, a shih tzu

So, if you didn't know it already, take a lesson from this story -- even if a dog is obviously old, not a vibrant puppy, there are people out there that will commit crimes of opportunity like this one. And from that crime of opportunity in Boca Raton, the dog wound up in a shelter over 40 miles away in Miami-Dade County.

Missing dog found in Miami shelter
Reported by: Vince Norman
Last Update: 9/29 11:47 am

BOCA RATON, FL -- The case of the dog-napped Shih Tzu has a happy ending.

George, a 20 year old blind and partially deaf Shih Tzu, was stolen from his owner Sandy Lee's car, as she was dropping off her dry cleaning last week.

"I was literally gone for four minutes. Came back, my purse was gone, and George was gone," said Sandy.

Sandy was heartbroken. "You could take one look at George and see he's not a beautiful little puppy. He's a 20 year old blind disabled animal. I figured, ok take my purse, but why take my dog?"

George was found thanks to the aid of Anita Solomon, a part-time pet detective.

"I do independent rescue and going back to Katrina, I've been doing pet reunification," said Solomon.

This erstwhile Ace Ventura managed to locate George's picture online, and tracked him down to the Miami-Dade Animal Shelter.

"Before I called Sandy, I called them and I asked for certain things that I knew would definitely identify this dog," said Solomon.

"I just went, George, and immediately, he can't see, he knew it was me right away. And just circled around in the cage like get me out of here, get me out of here, get me out of here," said Lee.

With George safe at home, Sandy's life is once again on track. "I never thought I would be holding him like this, never; I'm traumatized, but it's like for him it never happened," said Lee.


Monday, December 7, 2009


Here's a reminder that in some cases, there is no replacing the physical search. This dog was stuck, otherwise, she may have come home. However, it's also critical that these people told neighbors that their dog was lost, because it was neighbors that alerted them to barking that they heard off in the distance.

. . . the time that I lost Tulip. It was only for nine hours, and it was one of the worst days of my life. She was old by then, with a severely weakened hindquarters, and I knew she’d never go running in the deep snow voluntarily.

After hours of searching the woods in a snow storm, calling and stopping at neighbors, we found her late at night, having slid partway down a small cliff, wedging herself between the ground and a large branch. We would never have found her if it hadn’t been for dear, wonderful neighbors, who thought they heard her barking and led us to where they thought she might be. We trudged through deep snow in the pitch dark, ears straining to hear something that might lead us to her. All 4 of us stopped cold when we heard a deep bark floating from the woods.

“There she is!” someone said, and I began to cry. Not from happiness, because it wasn’t her. I knew her bark, and it wasn’t her. It was 10 pm and my frail, old dog was somewhere in the dark and the snow and the storm and the bitter cold and it wasn’t her. And then, moments later . . . I could cry remembering it, we heard a second bark.

“TULIP!!! That’s her, I KNOW it is!”

We scrambled into the pitch dark woods, still unsure of where she was, and how to find her. Brambles tore at our clothes and the snow fell from branches overhead and melted down our necks, but we had heard her, and nothing was going to stop us from looking more.

It was Jim who found her. His flashlight found two glowing eyes… maybe a raccoon, maybe a possum, but no, wait… it was big and got whiter as we approached, and there she was, stuck like a puppy put into a Christmas stocking, held fast by a fallen tree to the side of a steep creek bed.

It took almost an hour to extract her off the steep, slippery slope, and get her back to the farm. She had most likely been pinned, immobile in the bitter cold, for almost nine hours, and she couldn’t move her back legs. She couldn’t walk unaided for a week, but she slowly gained her strength, and graced the farm for another year.

I will never forget the nightmare of that nine hours.