Traverse City Record-Eagle

November 4, 2012

Kathy Gibbons: Happy ending for little dog


---- — It's nice to tell a story with a happy ending.

About a month ago, my nephew, his wife and infant son from Grand Rapids were camping out on some family property near Mancelona on a Saturday. Their little black pug, Ivy, was hanging close around camp as she always does when they stay over there.

As they often do, my nephew and his stepdad went some distance into the woods for some target practice. Not long after, my nephew spotted a blur of black dart by. It was Ivy.

They immediately went after her, but she was nowhere to be found. They searched all afternoon, until rain and hail began to fall. Rather than take shelter at my parents' house five miles away, they stayed in the tent in case Ivy came back.

She didn't.

Sunday came and they resumed their search early in the morning, making multiple trails of dog food that would lead back to the campsite. She hadn't come back by the end of the day, and they had to leave because my nephew had to be at work on Monday.

Back in Grand Rapids, his wife got on Facebook, created a page about their missing dog and put the word out. Contacting area animal shelters and local businesses, she ended up networking with about 1,000 people in the Mancelona and Kalkaska areas. Many helped by handing out and posting fliers. My parents, meanwhile, kept going over to the woods to put out food and search.

By the following weekend, everyone was pretty much assuming that she'd been taken in by someone (best case), or had become prey to a wild animal (worst). Still, my nephew and his wife returned and continued to search.

On Sunday, there was still no sign of her and they were quite dejected as they prepared to leave again. Then the phone rang. A couple who was camping for the weekend at Manistee Lake 10 miles away was packing up when they saw a little black pug walk up from the lake. My nephew's cell number was on her tag.

So they hopped in the car, met the couple and brought Ivy back.

"What was really amazing was the amount of support we were able to get online with Facebook," he said. "People were on there telling stories of dogs that had been gone for weeks and made their way home."

Now they have another one to tell.