It took a town to bring home a dog after he went missing from his home in Berwick, Maine. His story didn’t end when he was found – it would take more than one hero to save the day.
Teddy the pug was basking in the sun in his yard, as he was wont to do. Christine Holmes, whose son Asher owns the dog, called for him to come get some of his favorite treat. He didn’t respond, and had likely wandered off into the tall grass at the edge of the yard.
“Teddy is just such a special pug to us,” said Christine. “He just did not come and that’s when the whole horrible ordeal began.”
Teddy has cataracts, and does not go far on his own. On the day he went missing, it so happened that he was not wearing his tags or harness. Christine and her husband, David, and their sons began searching the area. They alerted Granite State Dog Recovery and put the word out on Facebook. Hundreds of supporters sent their positive thoughts, and some joined the search effort.
“That just makes me cry to think about it, the outpouring of love and concern was so overwhelming,” Christine said.
Fliers were put up around town, but after three days, Teddy still hadn’t made his way home. Floral designer Heather Doolittle learned about the missing dog through her best friend, who is Christine’s sister-in-law, and decided to help search.
Heather used her tablet to see where Teddy had last been seen. She contacted the man who lived on the property, and asked if she could explore the trails behind his home.
“I’m only 10 minutes into the walk,” she explained. “I just happened to look over to my left and I saw movement, maybe 20 feet off the trail and I’m thinking ‘Oh, there’s a fox there. … Oh my God, that’s Teddy!’ I just started running for him. I’m yelling, ‘Bologna!’ because they said he loves bologna. He wanted nothing to do with that. He was booking.”
Heather chased after him, and was amazed that after three days in the wilderness the pudgy pug still had so much energy. He ran out of eyesight, but after finding paw prints in residual snow under trees, Heather caught up.
“The adrenaline kicked in and, literally, I just dove for him and just grabbed,” she said. “We rolled around a bit. I was hysterical, laughing and crying at the same time.”
Uncomfortable with being caught and pinned, Teddy growled at Heather, but he soon calmed down and began giving kisses.
“I’m holding him as tight as I can because there’s no way he is going to get down,” she said. “It’s like carrying a 30-pound frozen turkey out of the woods … trying to keep my drawers up with one hand. My arms are still sore today.”
Her shoes were thoroughly soaked, and she was exhilarated, but exhausted after the pursuit. With all the excitement, Heather lost track of where she was. She called 911 to help her find her way out of the woods.
Dispatcher Greg Tinsman and Supervisor Andy Clark triangulated her position using cell phone towers. Tinsman asked Heather about natural landmarks she had seen – the nearby pond and field – and was able to use Google Earth to locate her whereabouts. Clark rejoiced in the recovery of Teddy.
“A bunch of townspeople got together Saturday to look, myself and my son included,” he said. “It’s this really cute, lovable, pudgy pug.”
He was dehydrated and hungry, but otherwise Teddy was ok. He was quickly reunited with his anxious family.
“He had not one tick on him,” Christine said “His paws were barely muddy even though there was so much thawing. … It was like he was protected the whole time he was up there. Somebody was looking out for him.”