Friday, May 31, 2013

Shadow, black lab mix

Missing dog reunited with owner thanks to kindness of strangers
CTV Atlantic's Dan MacIntosh
May 28, 2013

A beloved family pet has been reunited with his owner thanks to the kindness of strangers.

Shadow had been missing for about three weeks, since running into the woods near his home in Caledonia, N.S. on May 6.

“I drove around for two weeks, up and down, trying to find him and then, I just kind of figured the worst, that a bear or something got him,” says owner Lila Westaway. “I kept hoping that somebody would have found him and somebody did finally.”

Shadow was missing for about three weeks before he was found by strangers and reunited with his owner. (CTV Atlantic)

That somebody was Craig Mercer.

He was on a fishing trip with his friends in the Liscomb Game Sanctuary when they found Shadow in the woods - his face peppered with porcupine quills.

He was about 15 kilometres from home.

After several group efforts to catch him, Mercer made a solo try and was able to scoop up the dog and put him in his truck.

“You couldn’t live with yourself if you knew that that dog was out there and we just drove home kind of thing,” says Mercer. “I figured, either we get him now and, or if we didn’t get him we’d have to go home and I know my wife would be out with me and we’d have to go try again.”

Shadow was in rough shape. The quills caused infection and made it nearly impossible for him to eat.

Veterinarian Kathryn Sykes says the dog’s days would have been numbered, if not for Mercer and his friends.

“I don’t think he would have made it too much longer,” says Sykes. “He was in pretty rough shape and I think he was probably getting close to the end of the line, I suspect.”

In addition to rescuing the injured dog, Mercer also stepped up and covered the cost of the vet bills.

“I made that decision when I saw the dog and I don’t want to impart that decision on (Westaway), so, I’ll take care of it,” says Mercer.

Westaway couldn’t be more grateful.

“I’d say’ thank you,’ but I don’t know how to say thank you so much. I’m just so happy,” she says.

Westaway expects she will be able to take Shadow home by the weekend.


Another version of the story is at:

Dog reunited with owner
Shadow was lost for three weeks and was injured by a porcupine before being found by Stellarton’s Craig Mercer near the Liscomb Game Sanctuary. Shadow is pictured here with Kathryn Sykes the veterinarian who has been working to get him back in...
Published on May 28, 2013
The News

NEW GLASGOW – A picture on the front of The News helped reunite a lost dog with its family.

The dog, who we now know as Shadow, was found near the Liscomb Game Sanctuary on Sunday by Craig Mercer and some friends who were out fishing. The dog had porcupine quills in its mouth and was thin.

Mercer caught the dog and brought it to the New Glasgow Vet Clinic where he has been happily cared for since.

After The News ran a story about the dog, a relative of the owner saw the picture and called his daughter to tell her that he thought it looked like her dog that had gone missing. The only problem was the story described a female dog. She called anyway and as it turns out the dog is indeed male. The veterinarians had been busy caring for the dog’s injuries and at first thought the dog was a girl. (Our apologies Shadow).

Mercer said the woman is from Caledonia and as soon as she arrived  the dog happily greeted her.

As it turns out there were actually two dogs that went missing three weeks ago: Shadow, the dog Mercer found, and another husky type dog. After a few days the husky returned home, but Shadow was still missing until this week.

Kathryn Sykes, the veterinarian who cared for Shadow, said the dog instantly recognized his owner.

“He was pretty excited to see her.”

Mercer said he’s glad the dog is back with his family and he was able to play a part in that.

He said numerous people have offered to help cover the vet bills and he’s told the woman who owns the dog not to worry about it, that he’ll take care of it.

Shadow was lost for three weeks and was injured by a porcupine before being found by Stellarton’s Craig Mercer near the Liscomb Game Sanctuary. Shadow is pictured here with Kathryn Sykes the veterinarian who has been working to get him back in shape. ADAM MACINNIS – THE NEWS

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Daisy, sheltie

Daisy's Story
Lynn Miraglia, Brevard Lost Pets
May 29, 2013

“Daisy” is reunited on May 28 after missing since April 17th. Her story has a few lessons illustrated that I would like to share. The first lesson is “do not give up”.

About 3 weeks after Daisy went missing in Palm Bay, her owners gave up. (This is not uncommon so please do not judge.) In the Missing Animal Response training class that I took, I learned about this kind of response, and some of the reasons for it. For one thing, people often can't cope with the not knowing, and they need closure, sometimes any way they can get it.

Daisy's family felt that she was so skittish that she would never be caught, and that she had likely already starved. The lost report was to be closed, but Valerie Nichols read the story and offered her info to be the contact in the report in order to keep the report open on the website.

Around the same time that her family gave up, Daisy was found just a half a mile away by Amie and Courtney. Daisy was a mess, flea infested, had bites on her. She was vetted and as you can see from her photo, they took wonderful care of her! Courtney looked on the website but did not check as far back as April 17th, and so did not see Daisy’s report. Courtney religiously checked the website for new lost listings every few days.

The other day another female sheltie, by the name of Maggie, went missing in Palm Bay, and was reported on the website. Courtney saw the report, and called Maggie’s people. From speaking with them, she determined that the sheltie that she had found could not be Maggie.

Luckily, I was in touch with Maggie’s people (I am not in touch with everyone who lists a pet on the website). Allison mentioned to me that she got a call about a found sheltie but it was not a match. My ears perked up!

Skip to the end, Daisy is HOME.

Lessons: 1. Do not give up. If there were Daisy signs up, Daisy would have been home much sooner.
2. If you find a pet, especially one in rather poor shape, don’t assume s/he is abused, and please use the search function on the website to search for a particular city or gender or breed of lost pet. That function narrows the field of what you are looking for and goes back a year.

To share some of what Daisy’s family is now saying: “Thank you so much we're all crying tears of joy over here. And Daisy is happier than ever!” and “Daisy was so happy running around tail wagging. [...] I'm so thankful I listened to my friends advice to go to you.”

Let's hope Maggie, who is the catalyst to getting Daisy reunited, is home very, very soon.


Blogger's Note: Lynn Miraglia runs Brevard Lost Pets, which is a missing pet posting website with a companion Facebook page covering Brevard County, Florida. Lynn has also been trained in Missing Animal Response by the Missing Pet Partnership.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Flo & Efa, border collies

Flo the stolen border collie puppy found at caravan site in Newent
By Hayley Mortimer
Monday 27th May 2013

HERE'S a 'tail' with a happy ending - Flo the stolen border collie puppy has been found at a caravan site in Newent.

The pooch went missing when the vehicle she was sleeping in was stolen from a house in Cranham.

Her owners Lucy and James Bent immediately contacted the police when their Land Rover Discovery was taken on Wednesday, May 15, with their two dogs inside.

James, a landscape gardener, had left the dogs in the back of the 4x4 parked on a driveway while he worked at a client’s house when it was taken at 10.45am.

Efa, a one-year-old collie, was found in the garden of a house in Brockworth later that day and was returned unharmed to the couple, who live in Burleigh.

The Land Rover was found nearby in Brockworth the following day, but Flo remained missing.

The couple launched an appeal, prompting a huge response on social media, and put up posters around Gloucestershire.

Lucy and James, both 43, were beginning to lose hope but on Tuesday, May 21, they received a phone call from a man who said Flo had turned up on a caravan site in Newent.

"He said she didn’t have any tags on her collar so he looked after her for a couple of days," said Lucy, an events co-ordinator at Westonbirt.

"But when he saw the posters he called us.

"He didn’t give his name but we arranged to meet him at a petrol station in Gloucester to hand her over.

"She was dirty but she was well and clearly hadn’t been harmed.

"We will never really know what happened to her but we are just so thrilled to have them both home.

"We are so grateful for all the help we have had, it has been phenomenal."


Printer friendly version here

Tuesday, May 28, 2013


Indiana family reunited with missing dog in Atlanta
Monday, May 27, 2013

ATLANTA — An Indiana family was reunited with their missing dog in Atlanta on Monday, nearly 500 miles from where she disappeared.

Karen and Victor Stievenart told Channel 2’s Craig Lucie that their dog, Jasmine, disappeared in April from their home in Terre Haute, Ind.

She slipped out of her collar and the Stievenarts think she may have hitched a ride south with a trucker or a family with a camper. They live about a mile from the interstate.

Somehow the dog traveled to Atlanta where a woman brought her to Fulton County Animal Services.

The woman said Jasmine jumped right into her car, but she's not sure where the dog was before.

Once animal officers started inspecting Jasmine they found a microchip implanted in the dog and quickly identified her owners.

The Stievenarts drove to Atlanta last weekend and arrived at FCAS on Monday morning.

Jasmine yelped and jumped right up to lick and hug Karen Stievenart as soon as officials brought her out of the kennel.

"I've been checking the shelter in Terre Haute every day. They are tired of seeing me," Karen Stievenart told Channel 2's Craig Lucie.


Monday, May 27, 2013

Kola, shepherd/lab mix

Lost dog finds way back home, thanks to good Samaritan
Kayleen Cubbal, New Castle News
February 6, 2013

NEW CASTLE — Joe Henry had all but given up.

For three days he searched for Kola, the beloved 15-year-old shepherd/labrador retriever mix that he had raised from a puppy.

“I’d sleep for a while,” Henry said, “then I’d wake up thinking, ‘I’m probably not ever going to see my dog again.’

Ellianna Henry, 21 months, gives a kiss to her family dog, Kola. Ellianna told mom and dad she was sad when she arrived home from church Sunday and Kola still was not home

“It was tearing me apart.”

Then, as Joe and his wife, Tommilynn, describe it, the seemingly impossible happened.

The Henrys got a call that a dog matching Kola’s description had been found, nearly frozen to the ground but alive, near Wal-Mart, on an entrance ramp to Route 376 — close to four miles from their Union Township home.

The dog was at the Animal Medical and Surgical Center in New Wilmington, being cared for by veterinarian Dr. Melanie Sumney and her soft-hearted staff.

“I was doing some work for a friend, but I flew up there,” Joe said. “My heart was racing so fast, I kept thinking, ‘please let this be my dog.’

“I walked in and there was Kola. He ran to me wagging his tail like crazy, gave me a big kiss, then buried his head in my arm.

“I’m not a guy to show my emotion,” Joe added, “but everyone in the office was crying. I have admit, I got really emotional, too.”


Kola’s tale of survival started Thursday night. Tommilynn had gone to visit someone in the hospital and when she returned, she put her car in the garage.

Kola stays inside, but has the run of a fenced-in back yard via a doggie door. When Tommilynn went into the house and didn’t see him, she assumed he was in the back yard.

By early the next morning, the couple realized that Kola had not come back in. Joe was frantic.

“I went up and down the road, to each neighbor, to a couple of businesses nearby, asking if anyone had seen him,” Joe said. “I kept walking through the yard, looking for tracks in the snow, through the woods behind our house hoping I could track him. Nothing. There was no sign of him.”

That’s when the Henrys remembered the garage being open for those few seconds as Tommilynn pulled her car in.

“The only way he could slip out would be if the garage door was open,” Joe said. “But I’ve had that dog for 15 years and he’s never even tried to leave our yard. He’s always by my side. No matter where I am, he’s glued to me.

“He has bad hips and takes medication for it and doesn’t see or hear as well as he used to, but for a dog his age, he’s in awfully good shape.”

Tommilynn, who is seven months pregnant with the couple’s second child, was beside herself. Kola came onto the scene around the time she and Joe met, when Joe also had Kola’s mother, Autumn, who died at age 14 1/2 two years ago.

“I felt horrible,” Tommilynn said, “I love Kola, but that dog is Joe’s baby. I just couldn’t believe that all those years with that dog was going to end like this.”

Joe also called the Lawrence County Humane Society, but was told that no dogs matching Kola’s description had been brought in.

Even 21-month-old daughter Ellianna was affected.

“We came home from church on Sunday and she said, “Kola ... where’s Kola,” Tommilynn said. “She was looking for him.

“Joe and I worried, will she remember him when she’s older? We just weren’t ready to let him go and I don’t think she was, either.”


Friday morning, Jill Jones was running errands near Wal-Mart when she saw, as she described to the Henrys, what at first appeared to be a deer covered with snow on an on-ramp to Route 376.

“She said she drove past it and saw it was too small to be a deer,” Joe said. “When she looked closer, she could see it was a dog.”

Jones backed up and pulled her car off the road and approached the animal. He was shivering, but alive. She didn’t know if she could lift him, but she said she wasn’t leaving him there to die. Jones also had no idea if the dog was friendly or, if hurt, might attack her.

“She told us, she said to herself, ‘OK, dog, if you’re going to bite me, go ahead and bite me, because I’m not leaving you here.’ ”

She had to pry the animal from the frozen ground, but the 50-pound dog not only let her pick him up, she told the Henrys, but he also let out a huge sigh of relief when she laid him on the seat of her car.

She immediately called the office of her own veterinarian, Sumney, who told her to bring the dog right in.

“Jill picked up the dog and carried him in, in her arms, and he is not a little dog,” Sumney said. “Another client of ours was coming in at the same time and helped her.”

Staff immediately assessed the dog’s condition.

“He was covered with snow and hungry and he couldn’t stand,” Sumney said. “We warmed him, gave him some food and water and did some bloodwork on him to see if he was in any kind of organ failure, which he wasn’t.

“As soon as I looked at him, I could see he was an older dog, but well-cared for. His nails were clipped and his coat was in good shape. I immediately thought, ‘this is someone’s dog.’ ”

Before long, though, he became everyone’s dog.

“Every time I went back into the exam room to check on him, there were more people in there,” Sumney said. “My entire staff was in there, petting him and telling him he was going to be OK. Clients heard what was going on and came in to see if he was all right. He was really scared, but everyone was trying to comfort him.”

Staff members tried to get the dog to stand, but his legs collapsed underneath him.

“We are not a shelter, we don’t take in animals, but I agreed to keep him overnight,” Sumney said. “My staff posted his picture on Facebook and immediately we started getting responses from all over — from people offering to foster him, to adopt him, to help pay for his care.”

When Sumney and her staff arrived Saturday, the dog had rallied a bit.

“When I walked in, he was wagging his tail,” she said. “He was able to go to the bathroom for the first time since he’d been there and we helped him up and he was able to stand.”

Although numerous offers to foster the dog had come in, Sumney’s staff members agreed to watch him on a rotating basis through the weekend while he continued to recuperate.

“We didn’t know exactly what this sweet boy had been through,” Sumney said. “We were hopeful that his owner would surface, but when a couple of days passed, I became convinced no one would claim him.

“I have never seen a response to anything like this,” she added. “Our phone was ringing off the hook. People were calling me at home. We had over 240 shares on Facebook.”


Monday morning, a call came from the humane society saying that a Union Township man was frantically searching for an elderly dog that matched the description of the one in Sumney’s care.

Within minutes, a call connecting Sumney’s office to the Henry family was made and Joe was on his way to pick up what he hoped was his lost dog.

“When the dog saw Joe, it was obvious that was his owner,” Sumney said. “The dog ran to him and they hugged and hugged. Everyone in the office was teary.”

Receptionist Ruth Pugliese was one of those.

“I think the thing that struck me was how many good people there are in the world,” she said. “So many people came together to make sure that this helpless creature was not left out there to die, then helped him get home. I think it made everyone’s day.”

Joe and Tommilynn said they forever will be grateful for the outpouring of goodness, starting with Jones and extending to Sumney’s office staff and the general public.

“I had canceled my Facebook account, but I activated it because everyone was telling how many people were looking for my dog,” Joe said. “I am just overwhelmed at how many people cared.

“You can say that there aren’t many good people out there anymore, but I know better. I got to know a whole lot of them in the past few days.”


Sunday, May 26, 2013

Bella, husky

Bella's Story
Told by Jo Ann
May 21st, 2013

I just wanted to share my story of hope.

In January 2012, our 1 year old Husky, Bella, learned how to open our garage door and got loose.

We searched day and night, posted to every site we could find, subscribed to Pet Amber Alert, put up fliers, spoke to neighbors, visited the shelters daily, and no signs of her anywhere. This went on for week and months.

After 16 months we had started to come to the realization that the chances of Bella coming home were pretty slim. We stayed connected with Facebook missing pet pages, but I considered taking down her Amber Alert.  Pet Amber Alert is a robo call alert service that also does blast notifications to local vets, shelters & other organizations. They also post the alert on their website and Facebook page, which will show in Google searches.

Last Monday I received an email from someone about 15 miles from our home. She found our Amber Alert post from last year and had a loose Husky in her yard for a few days playing with her dogs.

I asked my husband to call because these emails and calls had become too painful when ultimately we would always find it was someone else's dog.

I was traveling for work that week and when I called home later that day my husband gave me the news. Without a doubt Bella was home.

It's been a little more than a week and I still can't believe she has found her way back to us.

For anyone missing a pet I can completely relate to the pain and emotion that comes with every day. Please don't give up hope because miracles really do happen. Thanks to Facebook pages that keep us all working together to find our lost friends.

We have taken care of the microchip and both out huskies now have GPS collars too. 

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Honey, peekapoo

Elderly Newlywed Couple Reunited with Stolen Dog [SLIDE SHOW]
By: Matt Galka
May 07, 2013

Tallahassee, FL - When we last saw Geraldine and Tom Barthlow, things weren't going well.

Their beloved Peekapoo, Honey, was stolen in the beginning of April along with their car in Houston, Texas. The newlywed couple, just married in January, was there for a funeral.

On Tuesday, the Barthlows and Honey had a long overdue reunion.

The couple could barely contain themselves as Honey was dropped off to them at the Tallahassee airport.

An arrest for the theft was made in Houston, but there was no sign of Honey. Then Geraldine got a phone call from a woman in Houston last week claiming to have found Honey. Geraldine wanted proof, so she asked if the woman could put the phone up to Honey so Geraldine could talk to her.

"I said what she do? She said she stood up and wagged her tail!" said Geraldine. "I knew it was Honey!"

Geraldine said this is the happy ending she needed after the worst month in all her 86 years. But she isn't done yet.

"I want to see justice for the man that's sitting in jail, and if I can do anything to help those officers, I'll be right there by their side doing it," she said.

You can bet Honey will be there, too.

Havana, FL - 'Honey' is home, with a little Texas flavor!

'Honey' was stolen from Geraldine and Tom Barthlow of Havana back in early April as the couple traveled with her in Texas.

WCTV had a reporter on-scene for the happy reunion. Tune in for more -sweet as honey-coverage on the reunion, tonight on Eyewitness News.

By: Matt Galka
May 3, 2013

Havana, FL - It looks like a happy ending for a 'Peekapoo' who made a trip to Texas and has had a hard time getting home again!

'Honey' was stolen from Geraldine and Tom Barthlow of Havana, in early April while they were traveling with the pup in Houston, Texas.

Today, WCTV can confirm that a Houston woman has reported finding the dog.

The woman says she has the dog named 'Honey' and recognized the dog from television reports.

The woman is also looking to claim the reward set up by a Houston area attorney.

Right now both sides are figuring out how to get Honey back to the family.

By: Matt Galka
April 12, 2013

Havana, FL - 86 year old Geraldine and 92 year old Tom Barthlow were already having a tough weekend. They were in Houston, TX for the funeral of Tom's brother on April 5th.

The newlywed couple who were just married this past January, had to pick up medications for an infection that caused them to miss the funeral. They brought their beloved dog, Honey, with them to a local CVS, and it's the last time they saw the Peekapoo.

"I wish whoever had her would give her back because I know she misses us. I know she misses us as bad as we miss her," said Geraldine as she was fighting back tears.

Geraldine told Honey that she'd be right back, but when the couple left the CVS, their car and dog were both gone.

"We got her when she was six weeks old, and we had never spent a night apart until we went to Houston," said Geraldine.

Now, with the help of local media in Houston, members of the community are stepping up. A Houston attorney has offered a $1,000 dollar reward for the return of Honey. Flyers have also been placed around the city in hopes of finding the lost pup.

The Harris County, TX sheriff's office has made an arrest in the case. Deputies picked up Brandon Miles Vanwicklen on April 6th, be he hasn't said anything about Honey.

"If we work hard enough or live long enough, we can get another car, but we can't get another Honey," said Geraldine.

According to "The Houston Chronicle, the couple had left a cell phone in the car. When they called, a man picked up and demanded a ransom for Honey. The police arrested a man at the pick-up location, but no information about the dog was given.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Handover, pitbull

Homeless Man Reunited With Dog Stolen Three Weeks Ago
May 22, 2013

James Bryan, a homeless man living in Florida, woke up the morning of May 8 to find that his pet dog was missing. The dog, a blue pit bull named Handover, was the only remaining tie to Bryan's previous life, before he'd lost his farm, his home, and nearly all of his other personal belongings.

"Handover is my best friend. He's my heart and soul," Bryan told ABC Action News last week for a story about his then-missing dog. “If anybody sees him, please bring him home.”

Bryan, who lives along U.S. 19 in Hudson, Florida, feared Handover might have been targeted by someone involved with a dogfighting ring.

“I'm praying to God nobody's putting him into an arena and fighting him," Bryan said. "He is a force of nature."

Word spread about Handover's theft, and eventually Carolyn Texter, who knew Handover and Bryan from her work with animal rescues, heard and decided to help.

"That's the hardest thing I'm having right now. To even explain to my kids how someone could possibly steal someone's family member," Texter said.

Texter started a Facebook page to find Handover and, with the help of a few friends, raised a $200 reward for his return. The story eventually went viral. The Facebook page received thousands of likes and attracted the attention of local news stations. Information about and pictures of Handover was shared thousands of time. Soon, the reward money swelled to $1,000.

Wednesday afternoon, all the work paid off, and Bryan was reunited with Handover.

Handover was taken to a veterinarian for an check-up – he was healthy – and to have a microchip implanted in case he goes missing again.

So far, there's been no official word from Bryan, but on the Facebook page Texter described him as "speechless" and thankful for all the help he'd received.

As for Handover's name: He was a gift from Bryan's then-wife five years ago. As she was holding the new dog, she asked Bryan what he wanted to call his new pet. “Hand him over!” was Bryan's immediate response, and the name stuck.


Thursday, May 23, 2013

Alfaba, Welsh terrier

Soldier reunited with dog, missing for 18 months
May 21, 2013

ATLANTA -- Brandon Patterson was serving in Iraq, when he got the heartbreaking call. It appeared his dog Alfaba had found a gap in the sitter's fence and wandered away.

Helpless to do anything from so far away, Patterson asked his friends to post flyers and ads on Facebook, but Alfaba had disappeared.

"It's been very difficult just for closure. Just not knowing where she was at, if she was still alive?" said Patterson.

Patterson says he never stopped looking for Alfaba, keeping an eye out every time he saw another dog, and he certainly couldn't bring himself to adopt another.

"I think that I wanted to wait until I kind of have a peace about this and I never really did," he said.

Now he knows why. Cobb County Animal Control says Alfaba was one of nearly 40 dogs pulled from the house of an elderly woman, who also had dozens of cats and birds, all stuffed in cages inside her tiny house.

"Her back is black fur, but it was just dense with dirt and grime. You could tell she hadn't been brushed in a very very long time," said Judy Price, a volunteer with Atlanta Pet Rescue & Adoption.

Price was one of the first rescue volunteers called to the house to help.  The shelter couldn't take them all, but wanted to find as many good homes as possible.

"The wire cages (were) stacked double high, very dimly lit.  The shades were pulled down so no one could see in.  Cats (were) perched on any surface imaginable.  The smell of old urine was almost caustic," Price said, describing the conditions inside the house.

Price took three of the dogs and called Erika Dillingham for help in finding the right place for Alfaba, since she had experience with his breed, a Welsh Terrier.

Dillingham volunteers with Society of Humane Friends of Georgia and American Fox Terrier Rescue.

Dillingham says she could feel Alfaba's microchip in her shoulder, even though a vet checking the dog out, said she didn't have one.

The next day she went to another vet to have it checked out.  Unfortunately, the information didn't lead her directly to Patterson so she tried to track down the chip's maker and where it was purchased.

"It took a lot of internet searching and a lot of phone calling," she said.  Even when she did get a number for Patterson, it was disconnected.

Finally, the company where the chip had been purchased called back with another number.  It was just the number she needed to reunite Patterson with Alfaba.  It came just in time, because plans were already in the works to send Alfaba to a home in Montana.

"She started bouncing in the air and her tail was going a million miles a minute," said Dillingham.

Patterson says Alfaba is already up to her old tricks.

"Whenever I got out of the shower she would always lick my legs.  She continues to do that," he said with a smile.

Dillingham says the story is a great reminder to all pet owners to update the information associated with their pet's microchip.  She also encourages pet owners to register their animals with several services, and use several numbers for good samaritans trying to reach you!


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Junior, pitbull

Dog, owner reunited after being ripped from home by tornado
by WTVR Web Staff
May 19, 2013,

GRANBURY, TX (WTVR) — Several tornadoes tore through Granbury, Texas, Wednesday night, leaving six dead and several missing. Now, after all have been accounted for, the people of Granbury are beginning to attempt to pick up the pieces of what the EF-4 tornado left behind.

Granbury resident Jerry Shuttlesworth held onto his companion Junior, a six-year-old pitbull, while they waited for the tornado to pass, taking cover in the laundry room of his mobile home. Shuttlesworth recalls frightening memories of the nightmare.

“I said, ‘Junior, it’ll be okay.’ And I was praying,” Shuttlesworth said. “The only thing I can figure out is I went upside down holding onto him, and he was no more.”

Shuttlesworth ended up being thrown from his home. He was badly injured, but said that all he could think about was Junior’s whereabouts and well-being.

“I just laid there and I prayed for Junior, and I prayed, ‘God, please protect my puppy.”

Junior wasn’t the only dog lost; as many as 200 dogs were found without their families. Many of them are being sent to a shelter, where volunteers are working hard to reunite them with their owners. Junior got lucky when one of the volunteers recognized him from a post on a Facebook page set up specifically to help owners find their pets. When Shuttlesworth got the call that Junior was alive and well, he rushed to pick him up.

huttlesworth lost everything he owned, including his home. All that remained after the destruction was his truck and Junior. Still, he is grateful to be alive and reunited with his best friend.

“We’re back together. It’s okay, now,” Shuttlesworth said.


Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Bowser, schnauzer

Oklahoma City tornado survivor finds dog under rubble during live TV interview
Tuesday 21 May 2013

Amid the devastation wrought by a tornado in the suburbs of Oklahoma City survivors are clinging to any glimmers of hope as they prepare to rebuild their shattered lives.

Watch the video with extended coverage of the dog's rescue

One such ray was provided by and for elderly Moore resident Barbara Garcia, who found her dog buried alive under the rubble of her home during a live TV interview.

Mrs Garcia was describing lying under the wreckage of her home and calling out for her dog but receiving no answer when CBS news presenter Anna Werner spotted movement underneath a pile of debris.

‘Bless your little-bitty heart,’ Mrs Garcia says as the shaken but otherwise unhurt dog emerges into the daylight.

‘Well I thought God had just answered one prayer to let me be OK, but he answered both of them, because this was my second prayer.’

Such stories are sadly rare in Moore, where rows upon rows of houses have been levelled and a primary-age school took a direct hit from the tornado.

At least 91 people have been killed as a result of the twister, while US president Barack Obama has declared a state of emergency.


Video with extended coverage of the dog's rescue:
Follow-up at

Monday, May 20, 2013

Country, shepherd-spaniel mix

After losing hope, lost dog finds way back to South Columbus family for Christmas
Alva James-Johnson, Special to the Ledger-Enquirer
December 24, 2012

It was a foggy November morning, and I was a bit groggy as I rolled out of bed. A late night had taken its toll, and the last thing I wanted was to go out into the cold. But as is my daily routine, I had to walk our dog, Country. So I grabbed a jacket and went outside to the yard.

Country, it turns out, was nowhere in sight. I called his name, but got no response. Listened for his jingle, but there was just silence. Then I noticed the hole under the gate, and the board ripped from the fence. Country had escaped, and only God knew where he was.

Alva James-Johnson, right, her daughters, Alexis, left, and Shelbe, second from right, pose for a photo with Shuronica Lakes-Davis, who found and returned the Johnsons' dog, Country, six weeks after Country went missing.

That was Nov. 2, six months after my family relocated from South Florida to Columbus for my husband to pursue a job opportunity. Country, a Shepherd-Spaniel mix, had joined our family in July, and helped us adapt to our new life on the south side of town.

My daughters had fallen in love with the dog, who greeted them daily with a wagging tail when they returned from school. They had wanted a dog for years, and our move to Columbus presented the perfect opportunity.

Country became the girls' walking companion, frisky friend and a guinea pig for all their gadgets from Petco. They were looking forward to Christmas so they could dress him in a Santa suit and take photos in front of the fireplace. But now he was gone.

Country's disappearance set in motion a desperate six-week search, with the help of several of our new neighbors. It brought strangers together, broke down barriers and exercised our faith, paving the way for the dog's long journey home -- just in time for Christmas.

It also shattered many of the stereotypes I had heard about south Columbus.

The big move

You see, moving to a new town wasn't easy. There were many things to consider. At the top of the list was finding a place to live temporarily while we got the lay of the land. So we turned to the Internet, and after searching for some time, found a nice home in south Columbus. It had everything we wanted -- spacious quarters, an affordable price and a peaceful atmosphere.

But as we looked online for more information about Columbus, we discovered a dividing line between north and south. South Columbus was associated with blight and crime, according to some of the Internet posts, and north Columbus was considered "the good side of town."

Some people suggested we would be crazy to live anywhere south of Macon Road. Others set the dividing line at exit 10 off Interstate 185.

This, of course, is nothing new. I had experienced neighborhood profiling before, having lived and worked as a journalist in New York, Omaha, Neb., and South Florida. Entire neighborhoods written off due to ethnicity and socio-economic conditions, many times unfairly. Here we go again, I thought to myself, another stereotyped black community.

But I've also lived long enough to know there are some elements of truth to most stereotypes. So, I proceeded cautiously as we settled into our new home, always looking for the telltale signs of a declining neighborhood -- things like lawn maintenance, litter and the condition of area businesses.

I noticed bars on the windows of the Twins Food Mart on St. Marys Road, and suspected crime might be an issue. But there were positive signs, too. The store had a steady stream of business, which signaled a vibrant community. Men took the time to say "good morning" and hold the door for female customers. (That doesn't happen everywhere I've lived, trust me. Guess it's that Southern hospitality I've always heard about.)

I also observed families exercising at a nearby park, as well as many neighbors taking pride in their properties. And I concluded that the area along St. Marys Road was like most working-class neighborhoods where people just wanted a decent quality of life. Much like the community where I grew up in Brooklyn.

So we settled in the area, and for several months lived practically drama free.

(OK, so there was one altercation in the neighborhood where someone got hurt. But family disputes can happen anywhere. Right?)

Then Country entered our lives and turned everything upside down.

A desperate search

How did we find Country? He is a dog that had been rescued four years ago by some friends living on a farm in Alabama. He is a shy pooch, who doesn't take well to strangers. But he has an adorable face, and a big heart.

(As the story goes, Country, after discovering food, also brought his friend, Rex, to the farm to partake. The two had been living on the property ever since, along with other dogs our friends rescued.)

We agreed to adopt Country, and took him from the country to his new city life.

For the most part, Country adapted well to his new environment. But he had a penchant for digging and sniffing female dogs in the neighborhood. On at least one other occasion, he tried to run away, but we found him hiding behind the back fence.

When we discovered Country's disappearance on Nov. 2, I immediately created a flier to distribute throughout the neighborhood. Prior to that, we had had little contact with our neighbors. Most stuck to themselves, and seemed preoccupied with their own lives.

But when we started passing out the fliers, the neighborhood came to life. Two women, living on either side of us, said they were touched by Country's story. They volunteered to drive around the neighborhood and look for the dog.

I asked the manager at Twins Food Mart if I could post a flier in the window, and he agreed. The tale of the missing dog caught people's attention. And on Thanksgiving Day I received a call from a woman who said she cried when she read it. She was praying for our family and would look for the dog in her neighborhood.

In addition to distributing fliers, we also checked the animal control website daily, and called local vets and animal rescue organizations. We patrolled nearby streets for several weeks. But Country was nowhere to be found, and we just continued to pray earnestly for his return.

The approaching holiday

As we got closer to Christmas, my daughters decorated the mantel and Christmas tree in our family room. With holiday music permeating the house, and the fireplace adorned with twinkling colors, we tried hard as we could to kindle the Christmas spirit. But something was definitely wrong.

"Looks like he's not coming back," my husband said to me one night. "We'll just have to get the kids another dog."

That was Dec. 5, 20 days before Christmas.

Then the next day, I was sitting at the library working on a research project. My phone began to buzz, and there was a woman on the other line. She identified herself as Shuronica Lakes Davis, and said she had seen the flier at the Twins Food Mart. She believed she knew where Country was located.

"Is it a boy dog?" she asked.

"Yes!" I answered enthusiastically.

"Green collar?" she probed even further.

"Yes. Do you know where he is?"

By now, my heart was pounding inside. But I tried not to get my hopes up too high. Didn't want to be disappointed.

Davis said she had seen a dog that looked like Country in a neighborhood behind Macon Road, where she owned a rental property.

She was on her way back to the food mart to get the flier so she could see if it was the same dog.

As she spoke, I couldn't believe my ears. Could it be possible that Country could return after all these weeks, just in time for Christmas? And what are the chances that a woman with rental property in a totally different neighborhood would see the poster at Twins Food Mart? And why would she even care? It just seemed unbelievable, especially since my husband and I had just made up our minds to replace the dog the night before.

But just as she promised, Davis called me back with her assessment. "Ma'am, I found your dog," she said. "You need to come and get him as soon as you can."

My husband met Davis at the location, and sure enough it was Country. A man had him locked in a cage. When Country saw my husband, he wagged his tail as if nothing had happened, then jumped into our van to go home.

Now, he's back safe and sound with our family. And we have pictures in his Santa suit to prove it.

I asked Davis why she was so willing to help us find Country. She said her family lost a dog once, and tried hard as they could to find it. When they discovered its whereabouts, it was too late. The dog had been hit by a car, taken to the pound and put to sleep. Davis' children were devastated and she didn't want my children to experience the same thing.

Davis said she prayed and fasted the morning before she found Country. She asked God to use her in a special way, and he answered her prayers.

Well, lucky for us, there are people like Davis in south Columbus willing to be used by God and help their neighbors -- shattering stereotypes along the way. Through them, we witnessed a Christmas miracle.

And for that, we'll always be grateful.


Sunday, May 19, 2013

Apollo, chihuaua/Italian greyhound

How Facebook Helped Find a Lost Dog
Kelly Clay, Contributor

It was on a windy Wednesday morning that technology writer Ryan Matthew Pierson woke up to discover the front door to his apartment was blown open by a strong breeze. His wife had left for work, and a fault in their door frame made it difficult to latch. His dogs, Rocky and Apollo, took advantage of the open entryway and set out on adventure. Unfortunately, this adventure would last several days for one of his dogs.

His terrier mix, Rocky, was found almost right away by members of his apartment complex’s staff. He was kept in the office while Ryan rushed out on foot to find his chihuahua / Italian greyhound mix, Apollo.

“Apollo is curious by nature,” Pierson said. “He’s always exploring and meeting new people.”

On this day, Apollo was seen chasing a car through the security gates and onto the busy street adjoining the property. Pierson said he chased after Apollo on foot, but Apollo had a long head start. Finding him proved much more difficult than simply calling his name.

Pierson recalled, “He was lost. He has a tendency to keep going in one direction in hopes that eventually someone will catch up to him and find him. He’s never been particularly good about turning around and coming back the way he came.”

Ryan’s wife, Angela Pierson, continued the search by car while he started making calls and posting lost dog notices on Craigslist and Facebook. As it turns out, the post he made on Facebook would be the very lifeline they needed to find Apollo.

Within hours, over 1,000 people had shared Apollo’s photo on Facebook, and within 48 hours, that number grew to over 2,500 people. Pierson said that they were receiving calls almost every hour with possible sightings and from volunteers hoping to help them find Apollo and bring him home.

It was the second night when the Piersons received a phone call from an apartment manager working over four miles away from their home. Apollo had apparently wandered on to the property in search of both humans and food. They took him in and gave him a home while they searched for the owner. That’s when Apollo’s photo appeared in one of the manager’s Facebook news feed.

“She told me he was safe,” said Pierson. “She described his personality perfectly. He spent the day sitting on her lap quietly while she worked. That’s exactly what he does at home.”

After Pierson received photo confirmation, Apollo is now on his way back home. Apollo would likely not have been found without Pierson leveraging the power of Facebook, even though he only has a few hundred friends himself. Of course, this is not the first time Facebook has helped people find their lost love ones – or things.

Pierson’s story, however, reinforces just how far our own online social networks (no matter how small) can reach – especially when we need them most.


Saturday, May 18, 2013

Reggie, pitbull

Family reunited with missing dog
Rich Newberg
Wednesday, 08 May 2013

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - Shortly after News 4 aired the story below on Wednesday, the Marciano family was reunited with their dog, Reggie.

Brandon Romer returned the dog, which had no tags on at the time, and says his tenants had taken him in.

"They own two pit bulls themselves. They found this one on the road, saw that it needed to be taken care of, took it in, tried to find it a good home," Romer explained. "I'm not sure what they were waiting on as far as giving it a good home. But they did seem to me like they had good intentions with the dog."

The family thanked Romer with the promised $500 reward.

News 4's original story about the missing dog continues below:

A little girl is pleading for her dog's safe return and spreading her heartbreaking message on Facebook.

Reggie is a 4-year-old pit bull/terrier mix. He's a friendly, gentle animal that had been rescued by the Buffalo Animal Shelter and then adopted by the Marciano family from Buffalo's west side, several years ago. The dog has been growing up with the children, Joey and Ella.

Reggie's owner, David Marciano said, "Joey crawled up to Reggie and took the bone right out of his mouth, and Reggie's just licking his face."

Reggie was in the backyard without his tags two weeks ago and left the property through a space around a loose fence.

"No tag on him, which I regret. I always assumed he's in my yard, in my property, you know? You never think it's going to happen to you," David said.

The Marciano family immediately distributed hundreds of fliers, all over the west side here. And then David posted a plea from his daughter on Facebook.

In the video, Ella says, "Please help us find Reggie. We miss him."

"It's been actually going pretty crazy. This is just one post, and I put it up 13 hours ago. 77,696 people saw the post," David said. "I'm overwhelmed. I'm overwhelmed that so many people would care so much about my family and my family's dog."

A week after Reggie went missing, he was found at 15th and West Utica. A man found him and brought him to the home of an acquaintance across the street. The man then sold Reggie to a woman in a minivan for $40.

Since then, no one has been able to locate the man who sold Reggie, or the woman who purchased him.

The family is still hopeful he will be returned and are offering a $500 reward.


Friday, May 17, 2013

Shaggy & Baby, beagles

Lost Beagles Reunited with Owner
Posted by Jessie Sawyer (Editor)
February 18, 2013

Two beagles found roaming on Woodhaven Drive Thursday night were released to their owner early evening Saturday.

The dogs were released early Saturday evening

"They did not roam far. They were right in the neighborhood," Avon-Canton Animal Control Officer Beverly LaPlume said Sunday morning.

The beagles – a female puppy named Baby, 5 months, and a male Shaggy, 4 – live in a heated dog house in a fenced-in pen area behind an Oxbow Drive home. They escaped by jumping over the fence from a high snow bank.

The person caring for the dogs noticed they were missing Friday morning when she went outside to feed them. When the owner returned Saturday and learned from her that they were missing, he called LaPlume.

LaPlume said she had also looked into other leads after getting several calls previously from many people who saw the Avon Patch post about the missing beagles. Some expressed interest in adopting the dogs if the owner did not claim them.

The rabies tag on Shaggy's collar was registered to a disconnected phone number and a Vernon address that didn't turn out to be the owner's home when Vernon police looked into it.

The owner came forward and met LaPlume to fill out some paperwork and license the dogs. While Connecticut does not require dogs to be licensed until they are 6 months old, he did choose to have Baby licensed a month early, LaPlume said.

The owner often takes the dogs tracking in Simsbury to let them run and chase – but not kill – rabbits, LaPlume said he told her, and when he calls them, they come back. The last time he took them tracking, he pulled collars he had in his home on the beagles to put leashes on them. While the collar he put on Shaggy had a rabies tag, it was not his. He told LaPlume he recently got Shaggy from a friend who just moved.

LaPlume brought the beagles to Dr. Shannon Bertolino, of the newly opened Veterinary Emergency Center on Dowd Avenue in Canton, for a check-up. The owner met her there. Bertolino confirmed the dogs were healthy, LaPlume said, and neither dog showed signs of being underfed.

Neither dog was altered or had the rabies vaccination. Both beagles were given the rabies vaccine at the vet's office and released to the owner around 5 p.m. Saturday.


Thursday, May 16, 2013

Tinkerbell, poodle mix

Woman reunites with missing dog in Elma
Lou Raguse, Posted by: Liz Reiman
Sunday, 12 May 2013

Elma NY (WIVB) - It was a happy reunion and special Mother's Day for one woman in Elma.

Julie Schwab was reunited with her two poodle mix dog's Tinkerbell and Mator, after they went missing from her home last week.

Mator found his way home the night they disappeared, but Tinkerbell remained missing for a while. The owner said she was worried because the weather started to change, getting colder with more rain.

On Sunday morning, a turkey hunter spotted the lost dog atop a 75 foot cliff near a waterfall in Elma.

The Elma Dog Control Officer, Spring Brook Volunteer Fire Department and Erie County Sheriff's Office teamed up for a daring animal rescue.

Officials walked 200 yards up a creek to a point they could reach the dog.

"At that point we hoisted volunteer fireman D.J. Thompson about 10 to 15 feet up a rock face, where he was able to grab onto some trees and get his hands on the dog," a fire official said.

It was Mator who helped lure Tinkerbell toward the rescuers. Rescue crews said they were happy to risk their safety to reunite the pet with her family.

"The animal is helpless. It can't do anything for itself, and everyone involved was extremely happy to stick their neck out and help the animal and help the dog owner," said the fire official.

Most years, flowers or a trip to the movies would be a good gift, but on this Mother's Day, all Julie wanted was her dog back.


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Sparky, American Eskimo

NJ Transit workers rescue lost dog on tracks
Tuesday, May 14, 2013

GARFIELD, N.J. (WABC) -- Some pets have two names, like Yvette Osorio's American Eskimo dog.

She calls him Sparky, but the New Jersey train conductors who rescued him call him Lucky.

"I'm very thankful for everyone who helped my Sparky, my little lucky one," said Osorio.

From left: NJ Transit employees John Krawczyk, Michael Totaro, Paul Bowen and Luis Salinas with a dog they rescued from train tracks in Garfield Tuesday morning.

Sparky's adventure began when he accidentally got out of his house in Garfield and ran away.

Lost and confused, a collar-less Sparky made his way to the Garfield train station, wandering the tracks during rush hour.

That's when the crew on train 1254 heading to Hoboken saw him cowering.

But instead of ignoring the plight of yet another stray dog, they stopped the train, got out and rescued him.

They then took Sparky on the train and brought him to Hoboken.

"I met the train when it came into Hoboken Depot," said NJ Senior Train Master Sean Kushnir. "I secured the dog. Immediately the dog was a big hit, all the passengers were waiting with their cell phones taking pictures."

Kushnir says he started calling animal shelters and police departments.

Fortunately, Sparky's owner was doing the same.

"He's a member of my family. I take care of him," said Osorio. "Everything we do is with Sparky. And to be honest, if something happens to him, he's my little baby."

Osorio works as a truck driver and still had a shift to finish before she could go home, but this time her furry 15-year old companion would be joining her.


Another version of the story is at: Source:

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Molly, German shepherd

State trooper tracks down German shepherd missing since crash
By Pamela Powers Menomonie News Bureau
Monday, May 6, 2013

MENOMONIE — Family members believe John Philippi’s spirit watched over his beloved dog Molly until a determined Wisconsin state trooper found her Friday evening.

Molly, a 6-year-old German shepherd, was riding with Philippi, a 45-year-old Minnesota trucker, shortly after midnight Thursday when the semitrailer truck he was driving toward Illinois tipped on Interstate 94 by the Knapp Hill and was struck from behind by another semi.

Wisconsin State Patrol officer John Vernon found Molly, a 6-year-old German shepherd, after the dog left the scene of a semitrailer truck accident in Dunn County early Thursday morning. The crash killed the dog’s owner, John Philippi. Molly has been returned to Phillipi’s relatives.

“I know a lot of people in my family say John was up above in spirit waiting for (Molly) to be found,” said Matt Doughty of Dassel, Minn., Philippi’s nephew through marriage.

Philippi was on the phone with a friend just before the accident and told her to hang on because he was going to crash. He was ejected from his truck and died.

State Patrol officers responding to the accident initially had no idea Molly was traveling with Philippi as the dog wasn’t at the site when they arrived.

Locating the dog proved to be a challenging task.

Officers tracked down Philippi’s family members and one of his nephews asked about the dog that had accompanied Philippi on the road. That’s when officers learned about Molly, State Patrol Lt. Jeff Lorentz said.

Law enforcement officers were notified to watch for the dog and a trooper went door-to-door at area homes to see if anyone had seen Molly.

“We wanted to find that dog,” Lorentz said. “We didn’t want it hit by another vehicle.”

Just before lunch Friday the State Patrol office received a phone call from someone saying they had seen a German shepherd near the Knapp exit. Dunn County Humane Society members helped search for Molly, but the dog proved elusive.

Pictures of Molly were posted on a lost dog website, and at the start of each shift, State Patrol officers were instructed Friday to keep searching for her. Later that day shift trooper John Vernon, a first-year officer, began walking the interstate in the area of the crash along with a couple of volunteers.

Vernon came upon paw prints in the snow near the crash site and followed the tracks. At about 6 p.m. he saw a dog matching Molly’s description seeking shelter beneath a pine tree about a mile west of the crash site.

Vernon knelt in the snow and called Molly by name. She walked right up to him.

“She wanted to be rescued. She was hungry,” Doughty said.

The dog had a 6-inch gash to her leg. Molly yelped when Vernon touched her leg, said Lorentz, who praised Vernon’s dogged tenacity to find Molly.

“I don’t think anybody showed more determination than trooper John Vernon,” Lorentz said, noting Vernon has an affinity for dogs.

Philippi’s relatives have a special attachment to Molly because of recent tragedies. In addition to Philippi’s death and that of his father in February, a cousin died in a workplace accident six months ago.

Molly is staying with Philippi’s relatives and her injured leg is being treated. The family will decide whom the animal will live with on a permanent basis, said Doughty, who is especially grateful to have recovered Molly.

“A lot of people went out of their way to help us,” he said.


Monday, May 13, 2013

Bonkers, cocker spaniel

The "Trouble" with "Bonkers"
Karen Palmer, Balanced Canine Training
May 13, 2013

In early February, a man named Jere (as in Jerry) lost his ten year old, female black cocker spaniel mix named "Trouble". She managed to get off of a cable and wander from his yard on a cold, rainy night. She was wearing a collar with an expired license tag (which was also connected to an old, outdated address), was overweight, and overdue for a grooming.

At that time, I was in training to become a lost pet detective through Missing Pet Partnership. As he did not have a car, easy access to the internet, or much in the way of financial assets, I started helping him with internet searching and networking, shelter checks, creating and putting up signs, organizing phone calls to area vets, groomers, and adoption groups (I also made in-person visits as part of my regular business networking, and made mention of her then), and even doing some driving and footwork on reported sightings.

Thus far, we have not had any success in finding Trouble. But when we were doing some follow-up on those sightings, he told me that he would feel very good if he was able to catch a stray that turned out to be someone else's lost shaggy black dog.

On April 25th, a Thursday, a black-and-tan cocker spaniel female decided for the first time to take herself for a walk when her owner, Michael Nellett, let her off-leash in the backyard. Bianca (a.k.a. "Bonkers") was wearing a harness and collar with a tag given by a local veterinarian with her rabies vaccination. She disappeared quickly. He posted on his Facebook page and went to the shelter to report her missing. The whole family was distraught.

Meanwhile, another couple had picked up the dog, and having heard about Jere's missing dog, brought her to him in the hopes of making a match. Unfortunately for him, it was not his dog. But he was immediately determined to help this dog find her owners. He felt that this is what he would have liked his dog's finders to do, regardless of what had happened to her.

Jere called me and asked me what to do. As it was close to 4:30pm, and he had already notified the shelter, I recommended that he immediately walk to the veterinarian office about a block from his home and have her checked for a microchip. He was also to call the county with the information on the tag (which I thought at the time was a county license).

The found cocker was not microchipped, and the tag's information came up as belonging to a deceased dog. The owners of that dog said that they did not have a cocker spaniel. The next day, the finders of the dog texted me a photo they had taken of her. I put this photo in an ad on Craigslist, as well as on my business page, a local lost dog page, and statewide lost dog page on Facebook, and the local online newspaper. But that tag bothered me. It just didn't make any sense!

The next morning, I called Jere and told him I was on my way to town. First, I stopped at the vet clinic. The woman behind the counter was unfamiliar with the case. I then went to see the dog, and called her back with the number. As it happened, the number on the tag corresponded with TWO clients! The other was a former client, and I was given limited information. With some work on my smartphone, I found two failed phone numbers matching an address. So I took Jere and Bonkers for a short trip to the address. Alas, they had since moved away. I took them back to his house and headed to the shelter to make a report in-person. I also had the photo to email them with, and was assured that the email had gone through successfully while I was there. None of the shelter volunteers I talked with had heard of a lost cocker. I also made up a new flyer for Jere's dog, as I could no longer find his original, which had many dates on it and "still missing" from all of our previous shelter-checking efforts.

Later after returning home, I decided to return to the internet to do what I call "super-sleuthing". I researched the one name I had found earlier, which was “Cheryl Nellett”. I found that she was apparently married to a "Michael", and on one search page I found a link to his Facebook page. Why didn't I think to search for a name there before? I clicked on the link, scrolling down to see if there was any mention for a lost dog. Sure enough, there it was, and it included his phone number! I was literally jumping up and down, trying to catch my breath as I made the call. I was quick to tell him that she was found and fine.

Soon thereafter, the Nelletts were reunited with their beloved little dog, and I feverishly back-tracked to update my online ads with the “FOUND: REUNITED” news we all love to see. I texted her first finders with the news, and they were also elated. This marked my first “assist”, as I call it, to reunite a lost dog with an owner, and I am very pleased with that. Though it isn’t Jere who has his lost dog back, it still matters to Bonker’s owners!

Though Jere had spent two pleasant nights with a friendly cocker companion and is now feeling a little lonely again, he was very happy to help little Bonkers find her owners. He can only hope that someone, somewhere, is taking care of his little dog, too.

We learned a great deal from this case. I spoke to Mr. Nellett the day after their reunion to go over this story again and make sure that his family knows how to proactively protect Bonkers, just in case she ever disappears again. They were going to get her microchipped and registered, and get a new ID tag for her collar. Those two things would have helped her get home that first day. The tag should have the owner’s name(s), phone number(s), and address on it. The tag and the microchip registration must then be updated whenever the contact info. changes!

She was also going to be groomed soon, though I want to be clear that I never made assumptions about her care (and most importantly, her owner’s right to have her back) due to her shaggy coat. She had clearly been groomed previously, and it was just grown out. That said, having a well-groomed dog may help some finders believe that “someone loves this dog” or, “clearly this is someone’s house dog”. People are more likely to hang onto such a dog temporarily rather than quickly dropping it off with the shelter, and will work harder to find the rightful owner rather than keep or just give the dog away to a stranger.

It is important that pet finders refuse to make too many assumptions about the responsibility of a dog’s owners based on “circumstantial evidence”. Some people simply need an education. Sometimes the circumstances between the time of loss and the time of the find include conditions that owners have no control over. All owners deserve, and by law require, a chance to find their dog. In most cases, the law protects them through the mediation of the shelter system (in this county, all pet finders are required to notify the shelter within 48 hours). But pet owners must also be aware that even the best shelters can make mistakes, that all volunteers do not keep track of all lost and found pets, and that sometimes they cannot make the right connections. Even though this dog’s owners visited the shelter in person the day she was lost, and the first of two reports that she was found came in on that very day, the shelter did not make the match. Pet owners must make regular physical shelter checks and take more proactive steps outside of that system to find their pets themselves! Don’t rely on others to do all the work for you!

The internet is, in many cases, one of the best tools we have available because information can be posted, shared and received so quickly. Postings of lost pets can be made for free on Craigslist, and many who find stray dogs will look in the “pets” section and/or the “lost and found” section pretty quickly. A post on Craigslist, Facebook, the local newspaper’s online ads, and through any other internet sites should include a photo or two, along with the date and location of the point last seen, for the best results. Photos are easy to share and link to. Encourage online sharing (and flyer printing and posting) with all of your local friends to help you make that one important connection!

Most of all, don’t give up! Bonker’s owners may not have known what else to do, but if they continued to ask around, they would have heard some helpful advice from SOMEONE which would have eventually helped them connect with my efforts to find them. Never assume too much of a negative story, and never give up! And if you find a pet, think lost, not stray!


Sunday, May 12, 2013

Penny, JRT mix

Penny's Story
Told by Carine M to
May 6th, 2013

I took the dogs for a walk at the Spring Gardens in Marilla on 4/30 with my friend Daniela and her dogs.

At one point we saw my smaller dog Penny chasing a rabbit or squirrel in the distance. We immediately set out after her, but after a while, it became clear that she was not coming back. This was the first time in the 5 years I had owned her that she disappeared like that.

We walked back to the car then returned to the spot we lost her at in case she had found her way back there. Nothing. We walked again to the first house on Reiter Rd she would have reached had she run straight ahead, and the lady living there immediately got mobilized to help. She called the EA warden and enrolled her husband to search for Penny in the woods on his four-wheeler. Nothing.

Cathy was the first of the many animal lovers I met on my search for Penny during the following 5 days. The park ranger at the Spring Gardens was the second. They were both extremely worried about the two bands of coyotes that live in the area and that can be heard howling back and forth on a regular basis.

The first night Penny was gone I imagined the worst: that she had become coyote lunch. I know coyotes are usually nocturnal hunters but Frank, the ranger, had shared horror stories of daytime attacks on dogs, including a pitbull.

Penny is a medium-sized Jack Russell mix, with the most adorable underbite, who did not stand a chance. To my biggest relief, the next day the EA warden called to let us know that people had seen her on the 400 Southbound. They had tried calling and catching her to no avail. She ran away and disappeared in the bushes on the EA side, but at least we knew that she had made it across the highway into EA. My little girl was trying to get home.

We started asking people and putting up posters around Porterville Rd and heard from several people that she had been spotted running down that road into the backyard of some houses adjacent to Sinking Ponds. Apparently, a truck driver was following her slowly to make sure she would not get run over.

I spent the next two days putting up posters and asking everyone I met around EA if they had seen a terrified white and tan terrier on the run. I asked so many people that I ended up running into the same folks two or three times on different days. Even the officer I flagged down in his police car told me he had heard of missing Penny several times already! I lost my voice in the process of endlessly inquiring about my dog.

I got in touch with the Elma Warden as well as the sheriff's department in EA, Elma, Wales, Alden, OP, Lancaster... I took posters to town halls, post offices, and country stores. I posted about Penny widely on Facebook and contacted the EA Advertiser to place an ad in the paper's following issue.

Finally the Elma warden called me to mention that someone had spotted a white dog in OP, on Willardshire and Milestrip but that he did not think that she could possibly have made it that far.

Neither did I, but I still went and put posters in mailboxes in that neighborhood, rang random bells and asked people about Penny. Engaging in what increasingly felt like a futile search was better than staying put and mulling over my anxiety over not knowing of her fate.

Apparently, I had not gone far enough on Willardshire however, because it turned out that Penny had been there all along, crouching in someone's backyard. On day 5 in the morning, I got a phonecall from a lady on Willardshire who had finally been able to lay her hands on absconding little Penny.

Terrified, Penny had spent the previous day retreating into the woods at the back of the yard every time someone got near. But she did not leave, and even spent the night on the house's back porch.

The lady approached carefully on the second day and finally succeeded in getting a hold of poor Penny, who was shaking uncontrollably.

Fortunately for us, our pooch was still wearing her collar and tags, and the eagerly awaited phone call ensued.

Penny was a stray and a rescue when we got her and she had obviously been abused in her previous life. For months after we got her, any object that even remotely looked like a stick would make her squirm in terror.

I knew she was particularly fearful of men but apparently, away from her home, she was distrustful of women too... many tried to catch her to no avail during her little adventure. Had she lost her collar in the process, we may never have seen her again.

I will never forget the look of disbelief, recognition, and relief in her eyes when we picked her up. She went from looking confused and beaten to acting more like her old spunky self as we carried her away.

Her little paws were scratched up and bloody in front. She was dirty, exhausted, and ravenous, but she was finally home. She slept for two days straight and is now back to causing havoc around the house with her two favorite accomplices, Jake and Cookie.

As for us, we will not be testing to see if she would ever pull this trick on us again! While I would never relive this experience, I have to say that the most heartening part of it was the way complete strangers would mobilize to help out, deeply empathizing and caring about our plight. At least three people called after seeing the poster, wanting to help. Friends and strangers alike shared their concern on Facebook, asking for daily updates. The dog warden would call every day to ask if there had been any developments in the search.

I wish people knew what a great job dog wardens do and did not hesitate to call them whenever they come across a stray or apparently lost dog. I say this because too many people who had spotted Penny told me that they had just assumed she was someone's dog in the neighborhood. As a result, they did not call the town to signal the presence of a dog loose in their backyard. Had they done so, Penny may have come home much sooner. They only reported seeing the dog because they had come across my many posters or because I was accosting them directly.

Fortunately, this is a story with a happy ending. If anything can be learnt from it, however, it is the knowledge that any sighting of any dog loose in your neighborhood is worth being reported. Better risk an unnecessary call than unnecessary pain. Better safe than sorry.

Photo at

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Kimbo, pit bull

Missing Family Dog Reunited
Julie Carreiro, Hollister Police Department
Thursday May 9th, 2013

HOLLISTER, CALIFORNIA –May 9, 2013 – On May 8, 2013, Hollister Police Animal Care and Services Officers were able to reunite a pit bull dog with its original owner after it was missing almost a year.

On May 6, 2013 Hollister Police’s Animal Control Officers received a call from a Hollister resident who said he located his family pit bull that had been missing for almost eleven months. The man found his dog with another person on Jacqueline Drive, in Hollister. He said his dog, named Kimbo, recognized him and became very excited, but the person who had him on a leash refused to give him his dog.

On May 7, 2013 Hollister Police Animal Control Officers along with Hollister Police Officers were able to seize the dog as evidence and after an investigation it was determined the dog did belong to the man. He had documents and previous license information for Kimbo and several photographs of his family pet. He filed a lost report with the Hollister Animal Care and Services in June of 2012. The person who had the dog advised she found the dog that same month.

He was very happy to have his dog back. He owned Kimbo for more than five years and acquired him as a two month old puppy. He was very grateful to the Hollister Police Animal Control Officers for their assistance. Kimbo was also very excited and the man had Kimbo performed several tricks that he had taught him for shelter staff.

The person who found and failed to report the dog, Elizabeth Gonzalez (45), has been cited by Hollister Police and the report is being filed with the District Attorney’s Office for violation of Penal Code 485 Misappropriation/Theft of Lost Property.

Animal Care and Services wants to remind citizens that dogs are personal property and if you find a dog you must contact your local animal shelter to file a found report and scan for a micro-chip. In many cases, if the lost pet is not claimed the person who found the animal may be able to adopt it. It should be noted in this case, if the dog had been brought to the shelter, the dog would have been reunited almost a year ago.

Anyone wishing to rescue a dog and provide it with a “forever” home is encouraged to visit the animal shelter or visit the website to search for available pets. The Hollister Police Department’s Animal Control Bureau is located at 1331 South Street.