White Dog and the White Dog Army
Wonderful World Wednesday
White Dog, a child of privilege, does not understand the fear and horror that comes from being lost and alone in the world, but our Quinn does. He was found as a stray who had obviously been trying to fend for himself in the concrete jungle of Los Angeles for some time before being captured by animal control. The Other White Dog will tell you, with tears in his eyes, that one of the most wonderful things in the world is being found. It is for him that the White Dog Army shares this story of family reunited with the added lesson on the importance of microchipping your pets. That simple painless practice can turn a tragedy into a life saved and make the world right for those separated.
Dog lost in wild found 66 days later: Owner was told 15-year-old pet could not survive
Updated: Wednesday, 17 Oct 2012, 5:58 PM CDT Published : Tuesday, 16 Oct 2012, 2:08 PM CDT John Moritz
AUSTIN (KXAN) - After 3 1/2 days criss-crossing the mountainous trails of Hyde Memorial State Park near Santa Fe, N.M., in search of his dog, Austin businessman Mike Stotts decided he had to accept what park rangers and fellow campers had been telling him:
That no 15-year-old house dog with diminished hearing could survive that long without food or water among the coyotes and mid-August heat.
So Stotts, owner of HomePlace Apartments in North Austin, found two pine branches and fashioned a cross. Then he gathered up several large rocks on the side of a mountain in the park, planted the cross and called it Romeo's grave.
"I didn't want to picture him torn apart by coyotes just laying out there," Stotts said, who adopted the golden Nova Scotia duck-tolling retriever as a 12-week-old stray from Town Lake Animal Shelter in July 1997. "I wanted to remember him up on the mountain, looking down at all of the scenery."
Still grieving 66 days after saying goodbye to the dog that went with him everywhere, Stotts was at home Monday morning when he got a call from the dog-chipping company that implanted the identifying device in Romeo. He was told that his dog was alive, rescued by a Santa Fe man who had found him emaciated and injured not far from the primitive park in the Santa Fe National Forest.
The man and his wife had taken to the dog to a local veterinary clinic, which ran the chip that led Romeo to his owner. Tests showed that Romeo had lost about one-third of his body weight and had developed anemia. One of his ears had been ripped.
"I couldn't believe it," Stotts said Tuesday as he and his friend Colleen Ford had crossed into New Mexico on their way to meet the couple and reunite with Romeo. After the reunion later in the day, Stotts said by phone that Romeo was thinner, more tired -- but glad to see the man who he must have been searching for since August.
"He was like, 'Where were you? Why did you leave me?'" Stotts said. "If anyone was expecting him to be all kissy-face, that was never him. But I know he was glad to see me."
Stotts and Romeo had been camping in the primitive park on Aug. 14 when Romeo apparently worked his way through a tent flap in the middle of the night. When Stotts noticed Romeo had left, he began a predawn search that would take him across every hiking trail in the park. He expanded his search to nearby neighborhoods, tacking up signs with Romeo's photo and offering a reward. No luck.
Stotts said he told his story to anyone who would listen. Campers he never met joined the search. So did off-duty park rangers. Again, no sign of Romeo. Or any signs that a house dog had tangled with a coyote or another predator.
"Everybody told me that coyotes were a real problem out there," Stotts said. "There were stories about them going after Lab-sized dogs on leashes. A little 33-pound dog wouldn't have a chance."
So reluctantly, he headed home.
But he was fortunate that Eli Madrid was heading for work near the park a little before daylight on Monday. "This little dog caught my headlights, so I stopped," Madrid said by phone from Santa Fe. "I like dogs. I have two of my own. This one looked like it needed my help." So Madrid stopped and the dog came to him. Madrid could tell the dog was tired, hurt and hungry. And he still had a collar, which carried a tag saying he had been chipped. Madrid got the dog into his car and called his wife, Jamie. They took the dog to the vet to be checked out and to see if the chip was active. It was.
"I guess the lesson here," said Stotts, "is that it pays to have your dog chipped."
And, the White Dog Army adds, NEVER underestimate the determination of a dog…even a 15-year old deaf one!