Ace, a 6-year old Labrador from Naperville, Ill., got lost on New Year’s Eve during the midnight fireworks, but thanks to family, neighbors, strangers, social media, and hope, the dog was safely found seven days later.
Like many other dogs, Ace gets spooked with fireworks, and on New Year’s Eve the canine ran out the front door when the pyrotechnics started.
Immediately the Hunters, his owners, started to search for the pet and many of the party guests joined the search party. They searched until 3 a.m., but unfortunately the dog was nowhere to be found.
According to the Naperville Sun, the search party continued when the sun came up. Family members walked the neighborhood streets and learned of possible sightings near a restaurant and the nearby river walk, but there was no dog at those places.
Two days passed and Ace was still missing. Teresa Barlow, who watches Ace when the Hunters go out of town, called Angie Hunter to ask if the family had checked out Lost Dog of Illinois. No one had thought of placing a cyber post about their lost dog, and therefore one was created immediately.
Within 24 hours the post was shared 2,000 times. Fliers were also posted along the neighborhood hoping to create new leads, and soon after, possible sightings of a dog fitting Ace’s descriptions came from adjacent neighborhoods.
Five days after the dog ran out, Hillside police contacted the Hunters saying they had cornered a Labrador that could be Ace. Andy Hunter and his 17-year-old son traveled through heavy snow to meet the officers, but when they arrived at the location, the dog had fled.
The most promising lead the hunters received said there were paw prints on the snow behind the Regal Cantera theaters. Search volunteers checked the area at different times and followed the paw prints, but they never found a dog.
Seven days after Ace went missing the Hunters started to lose hope, but as they returned from visiting DuPage County Animal Care and Control in Wheaton, Barlow called to say she had found fresh tracks by the theater again.
Something felt different this time. The Hunters headed to the theater, made their way to the back of the building, in a makeshift nest formed from dried, tall grass, they found Ace.
The dog’s fur had grown darker and fuller, and even though he had been exposed to extreme cold temperatures and who knows what else during those seven days, he had no injuries on him.
The reunited family made a visit to their vet and left the dog for observation during two days. Hunter is slowly making a full recovery and soon he will be his playful silly self.
The Hunter family is glad Ace is finally back and safe at home.