A dog gone tale with a happy ending | SierraSun.com

A dog gone tale with a happy ending

I probably won’t ever forget the date ” June 18, the horrifying day Kea, my 8 1/2-year-old dog, mysteriously vanished. Kea is a “Northern breed” with a personality that begs for independence and returns unconditional loyalty.

Historically, Tahoe has been a place that dogs are safe, allowing dogs to attain moments of independence safely unleashed. The evening of June 18 I had been on my usual walk from the house, the same walk I have done with my dog, my neighbors and friends for the past seven years. It’s a simple walk a few blocks from my house down to the lake, no highway crossing, no place to get lost.

Upon my return to the house with my usual crowd of neighbors and neighborhood dogs, I suddenly realized Kea was not with us. When I returned in the direction of where Kea was, I found no trace of her. She vanished.

For the days and weeks after her disappearance, our community provided support and unconditional compassion for a lost pet beyond my greatest expectations. We’re clearly a community that loves our dogs! My main purpose of this column is to extend my most heartfelt thanks to all those that participated and supported in the search for Kea.

I have heard numerous accounts of people, whom I have never met and may not even know Kea, scouring the forests in search of “the missing dog.”

Lenoir at the Sierra Sun compassionately assisted in the search for Kea and made it possible for me to get ads in our local paper. Liz with 1-800-HELP-4PETS never gave up hope and followed-up relentlessly on Kea’s case. My friends and neighbors came together with support and undying energy to get posters up throughout our neighborhood and community. To everyone that helped: Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Nearly seven weeks later, I have a happy ending to this story. A neighbor of the couple that stole Kea phoned the 800 number on Kea’s tag. 1-800-HELP-4PETS notified me within minutes that Kea had been located in Reno. I asked few questions. I didn’t want to jeopardize getting Kea back.

I drove straight to Reno, found the address of where she had been kept and found Kea. She ran out to me wagging her bushy energetic tail, then bee-lined straight to my truck and “loaded up.” I pushed back the tears and in disbelief drove as fast as I could back to Tahoe.

To close, I will give you the couple’s misaligned, inconsistent explanation. They said they found Kea at a park “somewhere in Tahoe a few weeks ago.” They changed their story of when and where Kea was found so many times that their inconsistencies brought their lies to the surface. They then claimed that they thought Kea was an abused dog because she was begging for food and she didn’t smell good.

Kea is fat and friendly, hardly the traits of an abused or neglected dog. Kea wore three tags: Her Placer County dog license, her rabies tag, and her 1-800-HELP-4PETS tag, which provides 24-7 assistance from a live operator with an entire portfolio on all of Kea’s information.

In short, the people that took Kea did not even come close to following through with what a reasonable person would do when finding a dog. They had no true foundation for an accusation of abuse; and they certainly have no expertise or authority to determine such an accusation. But it helped them justify taking something they liked that wasn’t theirs.

I may not have ever seen Kea again if she had not worn her 1-800-HELP-4PETS tag. The ease by which the neighbor was able to locate Kea’s information made it impossible for any caller to justify not returning Kea to her home. It is impossible to express in words the gratitude I feel towards the assistance provided by the staff of 1-800-HELP-4PETS and all those that assisted in getting Kea home safely.

As a note to our Tahoe visitors: Please understand that this is a very dog-friendly community. It’s quite usual to find dogs wandering happily through the neighborhoods. More often than not, the dog knows more where they are going than you may know where you are going. On behalf of all responsible Tahoe dog owners, if there is ever a concern about the safety of a dog or it is being a nuisance, don’t hesitate to call the numbers on the tags. This will resolve just about every concern.

By all means, please do not take our dogs from the area. Not making an attempt to return a tagged dog and taking it with you is a criminal offense titled “misappropriation of lost property.”

Juliet Kocsis and Kea are Tahoe City residents.

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