For one Missouri woman, the holiday season went from grim to grand. See how the help of many animal lovers helped reunited her with her beloved rescue dog.
Rescue dogs can get lost just like any other dog. In Fenton, Missouri, it took several communities of animal lovers to bring a lost pup back to his owner. We caught up with Colleen Wilson to learn more about the miserable 18 days she spent separated from Teddy, her lost rescue dog and a beloved member of her family.
1. Tell us a little about your pets. How did they come into your life and what are their favorite activities?
We adopted two rescue puppies from a veterinarian at Jewel Animal Hospital in St. Louis, in July 2013. Wallas is a Black Lab/Coon Hound mix. He was 16 weeks old when we brought him home. Our other pup is named Teddy, and he was identified as a Lab mix. He was only 11 weeks old when we got him. They love to run in our fenced backyard, and we take them for long walks daily.
2. We heard one of your dogs ran away while you were on vacation. What happened?
One weekend in November, my husband and I traveled to New York City for the weekend, and we had a relative come stay with our children. To lessen the puppy craziness, we brought Teddy to a friend's house. On the last day of his stay, he ran away. We went from the airport to the area where he was last seen, and at 10 p.m. that night, my husband, Tom, spotted him and called for him. Teddy looked at him and ran into some woods. Tom spent the entire night walking those woods. I started hanging posters and our misery began.
3. Your community was a great help in finding your lost rescue dog, Teddy. Can you explain what they did?
I received the first of many telephone calls the second morning after Teddy went missing. A woman named Debbie put our story on Facebook. She also texted me daily with any updates of Teddy sightings or clues to where he might be. She and her friend Tracy — a volunteer with Stray Rescue of St. Louis, a no-kill organization that locates stray animals and schedules veterinary care for them — walked the trails behind her home that were near a couple of ponds he may have been drinking from.
So many strangers from surrounding neighborhoods were out looking for our dog. The Fenton police and St. Louis County police got to know us, too. They happily supported our efforts when they saw us walking, sometimes late at night, through the two-mile radius of neighborhoods.
About a week into the search, a woman named Teresa Smith from Stray Rescue advised that a trap should be set. Even after several days, the trap hadn't caught him. Teresa would check in to see how the search was going. Even on the days I thought I should give up, she assured me that we'd find him. She called Stray Rescue again and asked for a second trap.
I drove down to the rescue on December 11, day 18 of our search. I was especially beaten down that day. A volunteer named Brandon helped me put the trap in my car and spent about 20 minutes showing me how to set it. He also promised I would get Teddy back. He inspired me, just like Teresa. I got to the site, where my friend Jenny was waiting. We baited the trap.
Tracy called me about an hour after we set that second trap, yelling, "Teddy's in the trap! Teddy's in the trap!"
4. Your pup is home! Did you celebrate with a special treat?
Teddy was so happy to see me. He had a broken leg and a small scar near his eye and had lost a lot of weight. We rushed him to the veterinarian and then took him home. He slept for days and rarely wanted to go out.
We found Teddy in the nick of time. I will be forever thankful to all the wonderful people who came out to help us day after day.
5. How is Teddy doing this spring? Has his leg healed and his weight increased?
Teddy is doing great. He has gained back all the weight he lost and his leg is all healed. We are actively training him and hoping this never happens again!
Thank you, Colleen!
We are grateful for Teddy's return, for the community assistance in finding him, and for Colleen taking the time to tell us their story. We know we will all be hugging our pets a little tighter this evening!
Do you have an amazing rescue story of your own? Share it with us in the comments!