I am sure you have all read stories or watched videos about dogs that were lost and amazingly found their way back home after months or even years. Several months ago I wrote on that very topic, in my post called “Loss Prevention”. There have been many, many stories of lost dogs, good and bad, since then. Just recently a story of a lost dog who was ultimately found came to my attention and especially touched my heart.
In my previous article I wrote about a group in my state called Granite State Dog Recovery (GSDR). They have a Facebook page and they work hard to “reunite lost dogs with their owners”. The core group is a small group of women, strictly volunteers, who work out of the Southern part of my state, but help people throughout New England. They actively help search and trap when they can, they are available to advise anyone in need, and they also loan out traps and game cameras to people that need them. But I think the heart of their group is in their Facebook page and the social media that gets out the word far and wide about missing dogs. The group goes far beyond just that handful of volunteers that started it.
I am not sure why this one story especially touched me and warmed my heart, out of all the stories they are involved in. Perhaps it was because the dog was a Beagle mix, and of course Beagles are near and dear to my heart. Maybe it was because this story took place close to where I used to live in Massachusetts and in the area where I once went to photography school. It could have been just because it was a heart wrenching story at the time:
Back in September one of their missing dog flyers showed up on my Facebook news feed and the story went like this: A family was in the process of moving from Vermont to Oregon. They left their dog, Taco, in the care of the grandmother, who lived in Massachusetts. During their move, one of their children became seriously ill. The grandmother had to board Taco, in the town of Gill (which is Northeast of Greenfield for those that might know the area) so that she could rush out West to join the family during this difficult time. Taco somehow went missing from the boarding kennel. GSDR put out an urgent request for help in posting flyers in that area, because apparently the boarding kennel really wasn’t being much help, and the family was still out of town. Their Facebook followers, including myself, shared the flyer….hundreds of people shared it. I still have family and friends in that area and I hoped someone would see it or share it that knew something.
A month went by and there were no sightings of Taco. GSDR put out another urgent cry for help in the area. That was probably the last I heard of it really, though I am sure the flyer was shared over and over. Until early June when one of GSDR’s followers posted a photo of a dog that had been found by the Hadley, Massachusetts Police Department. The dog had been found near UMass Amherst. This dog was described as possibly being a German Shepherd mix because of his coloring. In less than 2 hours, another follower of the page suggested that she thought the dog looked like Taco, the Beagle mix who went missing from Gill 9 months previous! Shortly thereafter GSDR shared the original flyer, and it was believed it truly was the same dog. The same follower who made the match offered to call or visit the police department with a photo of the flyer (she lives in the area). However, in the meantime the owner (who now lives in Oregon) had been notified, she contacted the police department, and shortly thereafter, even though it was very late in the evening by now, the grandmother was able to go visit the Hadley PD and confirm that this dog was indeed Taco!
What does this wonderful story make me thankful for? It makes me thankful for the power of social media for one thing. For all the flaws and downfalls of the Internet, and even Facebook, the truth is that it brings together people in a very special way, helping each other. I am thankful for people that are willing to help others who are perfect strangers to them. A lot had to come together to bring about this happy ending….someone found the dog, the police department picked him up and shared the information, GSDR and their followers were there to share the information. Two women who were just sitting at their computers cared enough to take the time to put the story together. One was even willing to go further and go see the dog herself!
I am deeply thankful for happy endings, especially to stories like this, because it gives hope to many people out there who are still missing their dogs.
Taco was reunited with his grandmother, and the plan is to fly him to Oregon when he is ready. I even saw some discussion on GSDR’s page by some people who were concerned about Taco having to go on a commercial flight, and one even contacted Pilots ‘N Paws to see if they could help. I don’t know if anything has come of it, but it warms my heart that they care enough to try to help.
The mystery remains of where Taco was for 9 months. I thought he looked fairly healthy in his “found” photo, and I never heard otherwise. He was found 19 miles south of where he went missing. That is something we will probably never know.
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