By George Brennan, Cape Code Online
October 10, 2012
SANDWICH — Cue the Disney sequel machine: Sandwich has its own version of "The Incredible Journey" starring Bailey and Baxter, a pair of golden retrievers found after nearly two weeks away from home.
The two dogs, owned and loved by Penny Blackwell, wandered off Sept. 25 from their home on Stowe Road, still attached to each other by a leash.
Blackwell's husband, Bob, had taken the two dogs — Bailey, 6, and Baxter, 4 — for a swim and tied them outside so they could dry off.
The pair wiggled themselves loose, their leashes still connected to each other, and took off on their wild adventure.
"It was horrible," Blackwell said. "The worst thing was not knowing if they were alive. It's one thing to have a dog die. But to have them gone and not know, it was just awful."
Blackwell turned to Facebook for help and support. She called local animal shelters and kennels. She posted on Craigslist, and her husband searched and put up posters.
Bailey had been given to Blackwell as a present.
"Who gives a puppy as a 50th birthday gift?" she joked. "Really, what's wrong with jewelry? But (Bailey) is the love of my life."
Blackwell had pretty much given up hope of finding her precious pooches alive when she heard from her friend that Baxter had been found Saturday, about a half-mile from home, by a neighbor off Boardley Road. Blackwell was away, so the friend took him in until they could be reunited Monday morning.
It was Baxter who led Blackwell to Bailey on Monday afternoon. Through a trail in the woods off Boardley Road, Baxter sniffed his way through the underbrush until they found Bailey hopelessly tangled around trees and bushes.
When he arrived home, Bailey went straight to his water bowl, lapped up some water and then jumped all over Blackwell and Baxter.
Despite being in the woods for nearly two weeks, both dogs came through their ordeals relatively unscathed — though Baxter did spend much of Tuesday at the veterinarian with stomach issues.
Baxter lost 8 pounds and Bailey lost 10, but neither dog had a problem with either fleas or ticks from their extended stay outside, Blackwell said.
"It's mind-boggling to think they could be there for nearly two weeks and come through it," said Blackwell, a school committee member for the Upper Cape Cod Regional Technical School and president of the Massachusetts Association of School Committees.
Social media definitely played a role in the happy reunion. "That's how my friends knew they were missing," Blackwell said. "The support I received was just incredible."
The family reunion has lit up Blackwell's Facebook wall. Postings about the dogs being found have generated more than 100 comments and likes.
"Wow!! Best news ever!!!" wrote Brett Stonstrom Wilson.
"Relief all around!" added Kathleen Dickson Langevin. "I love happy endings!"