Lost and hound: A dog’s survival in Troy
By Meghan Foley Sentinel Staff
| Posted: Tuesday, February 17, 2015 12:00 pm
TROY — Locals know her by names such as Houdini, Lucky, Shadow or Miracle.
The elusive and resourceful black Labrador retriever mix has roamed the streets of town for the past three years, capturing the hearts of several residents along the way.
They have left food for her, watched her seek shelter in buildings with an opening just large enough for her to fit through, and made multiple attempts to catch her. But each time she’s gotten away — that is, until Sunday.
Resident Courtney W. Davis, with the help of his girlfriend, Tiffany L. Bennett, and two of his employees, caught the dog running away from an abandoned trailer on Dort Street. Davis said she had been living there for some time.
That night, as the temperature plummeted below zero degrees, and the windchill pushed it down even further, the dog had a warm place to sleep and a hearty bowl of food to eat for the first time in years.
“It’s a miracle she’s still here,” Davis said Monday afternoon, as he prepared to take the dog to Troy veterinarian Andrew V. Cooke, who donated his services, for a checkup.
Now Davis, Bennett and others are searching for the dog’s owner, and have one clue that she’s likely from the area.
Holly A. Mokrzecki, president and founder of Granite State Dog Recovery, said this morning after the veterinarian appointment that the dog has a microchip. The microchip isn’t registered, but was found to have been put in by a rescue group in the Monadnock Region, she said.
They’re trying to track down which rescue, she said. “Someone knows where this dog belongs.”
Granite State Dog Recovery, a nonprofit organization, has posted photos of the dog on its Facebook page, and encouraged people to share the post on social media, hoping someone will recognize her.
The Manchester-based organization isn’t a dog rescue that takes in dogs, but instead seeks to reunite dogs with their owners, Mokrzecki said.
A post attached to the photos said the dog had been brought to the organization’s attention about a week ago, and its staff are thrilled she has finally been rescued.
“Thank you for everyone that reached out to us with your concerns for this girl,” the post said. “We need our Facebook network to share this post like crazy. We need to find this girl’s family.”
As of 9 a.m. today, the photos and Facebook post had been shared 3,000 times and had more than 165,000 views.
As for the dog’s health, she tested positive for heartworm, which costs more than $1,000 to treat, Mokrzecki said.
However, treatment can’t happen until the seven-day stray hold under state law has expired, Mokrzecki said. Until seven days after a stray dog’s rescue, the dog is still considered someone’s property, she said.
Davis said that before Sunday, he and others had made several attempts to catch the dog. He first noticed her roaming the town three years ago, and at the time she had a red collar. After the first winter, the collar was gone, he said.
“That’s when people started getting really concerned about her, and that she was losing weight,” he said.
Carl Patten Jr., whose heated garage for his business Stripe It, Seal It, has become the dog’s temporary home, said he often saw the dog going up and down Bigelow Hill Road, and left food out for her on many occasions.
Besides residents feeding her, she scavenged for scraps and occasionally roadkill, he said.
“She has literally lived all over town,” he said. “It’s really amazing she has lived as long as she has.”
Davis says the dog is at least 3, maybe 4 years old.
After several attempts to catch her using humane traps, he said he renewed his effort to track her movements last week, after spotting her around the former Troy Mills complex. He tracked her to the trailer on Dort Street, and was able to get her out from under the house and into the deep snow, which slowed her down. From there, he was able to catch her, he said.
Cooke said Monday he isn’t surprised the dog was able to survive on her own for so long. Labradors are hardy dogs, he said.
“They have to be pretty crafty, and this one obviously was,” he said.
On Monday, as the dog awaited a visit to Cooke, she lay on a mat on the cement floor of Patten’s garage. A large cage had been placed nearby filled with blankets, food, water and some toys.
Her demeanor was calm, as Bennett gently stroked her back. Her lean, fragile body shook as if she was afraid or still recovering from the chill likely embedded in her bones from being out in the cold for so long.
She could stand, but needed some help from Bennett. Davis then held her.
“I think with a little bit of care,” Davis said, “she’ll be somebody’s dog someday.”