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

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In a rural area like North Anson, she said, it is not uncommon for lost pets to be on a farm or found by hunters in the woods.

Found animals that are taken to shelters are also more likely to be reunited with owners, she said.

No matter what the situation is, Nelson said it is important for owners to report a missing pet to animal control right away.

In Dempsey’s case, Nelson said the Somerset County animal control had received a report of a big brown dog looking lost on U.S. Route 201A, but since his owners had not yet reported him missing, there was nothing animal control could do.

“We had information about this dog a couple hours after it was lost, but we didn’t know whose dog it was,” she said.

A good strategy in a search for a missing pet is to have one person out looking for the missing pet and to designate another person to make phone calls, said Nelson. Good contacts are local animal control, local shelters, veterinary offices and the sheriff’s department or police department as well as local media including television and radio, she said.

Winter weather can make it harder for pets to survive, especially animals like Dempsey, who does not have long hair and is not used to Maine winters, said Nelson.

“It was really amazing that he did live that long. Because of the weather and he’s not used to being out,” said Nelson. Dogs that are used to being outside have longer coats, fur between their toes and have thicker pads on their paws, she said. “He’s a house dog from out of state, so he obviously wasn’t used to the cold and since he wouldn’t come to anybody, he wasn’t getting shelter.”

Her final advice for owners of missing pets is to never give up.

“Get the word out there. That person that kept looking for Dempsey just kept going. Get the word out there,” she said.

Dempsey will have a cast on his right hind leg for six weeks and he will require more X-rays to check the progress of how his bone is healing, but Richards, the veterinarian, said he is expected to fully recover.

He has shown no signs of frostbite, but is very underweight, said Richards.

He also has a new microchip in case he gets lost again.

Richards said Dempsey is ready to go home and be with his family.

“He should heal fine. He’s a young dog and his appetite has definitely returned.”

Rachel Ohm— 612-2368 rohm@centralmaine.com

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