January 11

Lost dog that survived nine days in cold finally goes home

In a reunion filled with tears and hugs, Dempsey, a one-year-old boxer lost over the Christmas holiday, and his family, are together again.

By Rachel Ohm rohm@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

MADISON — Jamie Cyrway and her three children weren’t going to let a 13-hour, seven-state drive in sporadic snow keep them from their dog, Dempsey.

And Dempsey wasn’t going to let a lengthy surgery Friday morning and a broken leg keep him from his family.

When the Cyrway family of Severn, Md., pulled up at Madison Animal Hospital Friday night shortly before 6, Cyrway jumped from her car and ran to her dog.

And Dempsey — dragging his injured leg and just hours after a surgery extensive enough that the veterinarian feared the reunion would have to be put off — ran to his mom.

Cyrway, 34, and her three kids sobbed as they hugged the year-old boxer.

When they took a breather, Dempsey headed for the door. He’d had enough and wanted to go home.

Dempsey, who was missing for nine days in North Anson before he was found Monday, will be on his way back to Maryland Sunday.

When Dempsey arrived at the animal hospital earlier this week, he had a broken leg, most of his bones were showing and he was having seizures from being in temperatures that dipped below zero for more than a week.

Veterinarian Darren Richards said he had never seen a dog in such rough condition.

Friday morning, after Dempsey underwent three hours of surgery to extract a broken tooth and fix his broken leg, Richards thought Dempsey would be too stressed and exhausted to reunite with his family Friday night.

But Dempsey rebounded and Cyrway and kids Vivian, 2, Jaden, 8, and Tyrr, 12, drove straight to the hospital, which stayed open for them an hour after it was set to close.

Dempsey’s head perked up from his blanket as soon as he heard the car outside.

Also at the reunion was Christine Pierce, an animal lover with two boxers of her own, who got involved in the search after reading about it on Facebook, even though she had never met the Cyrway family.

Pierce, of North Anson, wiped away tears as the children brought Dempsey his toys and collar from home.

“Christine is Dempsey’s guardian angel on earth,” Cyrway said. “It’s been so great to have her support for us the whole time.

“I’m so thankful. I promised my mom we would continue to look for him and not give up because I just knew he would be found. There were definitely discouraging moments, but I just kept pushing negative thoughts away,” she said.

After Dempsey jumped a fence at Cyerway’s mother’s house on Madison Street in North Anson on Dec. 28, the family searched for three days before heading to their home 700 miles away, distraught that Dempsey wasn’t with them.

Monday, Pierce found him in an abandoned warehouse in North Anson, shivering, injured, emaciated and soaking wet, but alive.

While Dempsey was missing, Cyrway’s mother, Janet Boothby, continued to search as neighbors reported seeing him, but none were able to catch him.

The driver who hit Dempsey, breaking the dog’s leg, went to a nearby home to call for help, but by the time he returned Dempsey was gone.

The weather over the period included freezing rain, sub-zero temperatures and snow.

Cyrway wouldn’t give up. When the family returned home to Maryland, she called the Morning Sentinel to place an ad for a missing dog.

According to the American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, 93 percent of lost dogs are reunited with their owners.

Pat Nelson, an animal control officer who works in Anson, North Anson and Solon, and helped search for Dempsey, said lost pets and owners reuniting often depends on the conditions under which they are lost.

(Continued on page 2)

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