KEVIN IS HOME!!!
I, Kris Lee (aka one of Blaze's bestest buddies in the whole wide world) would like to thank everyone who came out of the woodwork to help whether it be on social media or with boots on the ground.
I will be withdrawing the funds to pay Kevin's vet bills and reimburse the hundreds of dollars each member of the search party paid out of their own pocket for the gas to drive 4 hours back and forth and the lodging in town and the supplies we used to try and lure Kevin based on the receipts we've all been keeping track of. We have a few more vet visits and a little bit longer before we know he's in the clear but as soon as we know we will be using any additional funds raised to make donations in Kevin's name to the organization's and people who helped us along the way.
Blaze Gottschalk is lucky to be alive after a rollover crash near Lyndon Station, WI Just northwest of Wisconsin Dells Tuesday around 1:30 A.M. However, his service dog in training is now missing.
Gottschalk was on his way to visit family in Illinois.
"I wasn't tired at all, I was listening to a podcast and talking to Kevin" said Gottschalk.
He can only describe what happened as a black out. It's still unknown why he would have blacked out, but he believes it may have been a terrible side effect of a new medication started just days before his trip. He does not remember events leading up to the crash other than the road was completely clear and then he was suddenly seconds away from rear ending a car stopped in traffic. He swerved into the left lane to avoid the car and found himself on the left shoulder and out of reflex he over corrected back into the left lane causing him to side swipe a semi truck. When his Jeep Patriot struck the semi it sent him flipping into the median. The car rolled several times sending glass and other debris flying.
Gottschalk doesn't remember exactly what happened after the crash but when he regained awareness he was already running around the crash site frantically searching and calling for Kevin who had escaped through a broken window and bolted from the scene out of fear.
Gottschalk was sent to a nearby hospital and treated for a minor cut on his bicep, but other than the small 1/2 inch incision he walked away unscathed.
Since his quick release from the hospital he has not stopped searching for Kevin.
"I just want Kevin back," said Gottschalk in an interview with Meghan Reistad of NBC15 - Madison and CW News.
Kevin is a service dog in training provided to Gottschalk by Dana Daniels, owner of Aurum Canine Services based out of Rosemount, MN.
When Daniels received the phone call that Gottschalk was in an accident and Kevin was missing she and sister-program owner Kris Lee of Druid Dogs immediately jumped in their cars and headed East to Lyndon Station, WI.
"Of course our first thought is oh no one of my best friends was in an accident and you think the worst, and then you find out he's okay and you feel a little bit better but then you hear Kevin is missing and the worry comes back." Said Lee.
Gottschalk has been joined in Lyndon Station by his partner and family members from both MN and IL, as well as Daniels and Lee.
"The amount of help we are receiving is extrodinary, it really makes you realize how lucky you are to have such a caring community here in the Midwest and especially Lyndon Station itself" said Lee.
People all over Wisconsin, Minnesota and Illinois are eager to help, sharing the lost dog posts over 85,000 times in the first 2 days. It seems everyone in Lyndon Station and the surrounding area is aware of the situation and are keeping an eye out for him.
"We have government officials, state patrol, Juneau County sheriff's department, postal workers, construction workers and residents all trying to help. We have volunteers from miles away helping where they can, news coverage, search and rescue tracking dogs. We head out early in the morning and people are offering us coffee and cupcakes. We are so greatful for what everyone is doing and even just a smile and word of encouragement is tremendously helpful." Lee says regarding the support they are receiving.
Organizations such as Lost Dogs of Wisconsin and The Retrievers are also on the case, providing a network of volunteers, lost dog flyer and bulletins to serve as a point of contact for reporting sightings. The organizations that could best be described as professional dog finding services are asking people to not come out of their homes looking for Kevin without prior authorization due to the fact that Kevin is likely traumatized and the influx of people looking for him could cause him to panic and run further. As with any missing dog, do not chase, yell or even call Kevin if you see him. Under normal circumstances Kevin is a very friendly dog and if he comes up to you and allows you to pet him try to calmly reach for his collar or keep him occupied and comfortable with treats and calm attention and immediately call the search party who he is bonded with. If you see him please report the sighting with his location, which direction he was going and what time you saw him to the search party either via fb pages Bring Kevin Home, Lost Dogs of Wisconsin or any of the phone numbers provided below.
The search party is committed to finding Kevin and have made it their priority, but with that they have found a new struggle: financially they need to be able to support their efforts. The primary search party have all taken unpaid time off work from their jobs in Minnesota and traveled hundreds of miles. They require lodging, fuel, food, supplies, and even a rental car. When Kevin is found he will need to be assessed and treated by a nearby emergency veterinarian and depending on his condition treatment may cost hundreds of dollars, potentially even thousands of dollars if he was injured in the crash. They need your help, even if its a small contribution and share.
Kevin is alive, he is out there and he is scared and we will not stop looking for him until he is home. If that takes days or weeks we are going to find him. Every morning we are putting on our boots, sunscreen and bug spray and no matter how many sleepless nights we have in a cheap motel we will keep doing it until we have him in our arms again. We have multiple sightings that confirm he is alive and in the area so that keeps us all hopeful and optimistic.