Where do I begin? In June, 2018 I saw a post on What's Up Cherry Hill about a lost dog. I thought to myself "I can help" it's right in Cherry Hill. I never imagined that I would dive into the unexpected, and my summer would be spent searching for a missing dog! This little dog named Puge would go from Voorhees to Cherry Hill (Woodcrest specifically), back to Voorhees and elude capture at all costs. With the help of Tracy Turanick Forlenza flyers were printed and my husband and myself started our quest to hang them all over. Sightings were documented and followed up on. Pictures of Puge were taken and added to flyers. A tracking dog was brought in thanks to Tarah Freestone and Puge was located in the Bunker Hill woods but quickly took off. I set cameras up and a feeding station to lure Puge to it, and sure enough he came to eat. A trap was set next to Woodcrest Swin Club but sadly Puge did not return and the search continued. Sightings of Puge emerged from many residents but we were always "behind" Puge.
The last official sighting was on July 13, 2018 in a backyard on Heartwood Drive, then the trail went cold. On August 23, 2018 I received a call that a small brown dog was seen at the corner of Queen Anne and Country Club by Bret Harte School. Once again, we followed up with residents and workers who confirmed this. Once again, we set up cameras and a feeding station, but Puge never came. On August 22, 2018, just a day before I received a pm from a woman whose son in law had seen a small brown dog in an apartment complex in Voorhees. We checked this out but thought it was just too far and not possible since there were still sightings in Cherry Hill. We continued our search in Woodcrest.
On October 3, 2018 I received a message about a post on What's Up Voorhees that the same person who had reported seeing a small brown dog on 8/22 had seen the very same dog again on 10/3 in their complex. Again, we followed up on this, but with more diligence. We hung flyers, talked to residents in the complex and even went door to door to the businesses on the side streets. Lo and behold, after seeing the flyer, MANY people said "yes that's the dog we've been seeing."
Last Tuesday, 10/10/18 while handing out flyers in the complex we were approached by a woman who asked if we were looking for a dog. After showing her the flyer, she confirmed that she sees the dog daily and has been leaving food out for him for weeks!! My heart was happy. Once again, we set up our own feeding station behind the trees, along with cameras and sure as the sky is blue, that little dog named Puge showed up on our cameras!! On Friday, 10/12/18 We set a trap but rigged it in the open position so we could see if Puge would go into the trap to eat. He did!!! And on Saturday, 10/13/18, we set the trap and loaded it with chicken, hot dogs etc!! We sat quietly and waited to hear if the trap slammed closed. Nothing!! Patience was wearing thin. I checked the trap at 6:25 p.m. and it was still open. I went back to my truck. I texted my friends who told me to be patient. I tried. At 6:45 p.m. I heard a noise, a whimpering coming from behind the trees!! I waited. Again, I heard the whimpering and then outright barking and I thought "oh my God is he stuck, is he hurt?" I ran from my truck, and found the trap closed and our little man inside!!! I was shaking!! I was fumbling to find the handle of the trap to lift it up while trying to calm Puge down!! I walked fast and carefully to my truck telling him he will never get away again!! Puge is safe!! He is warm!! He is dry!! And he is loved!! Loved by the entire Cherry Hill community!! I am so so grateful to be a part of this!!
I must thank Barbara and Sue from Missing K9 Search and Rescue not only for their guidance but also their friendship and use of their cameras, Tarah Freestone for her commitment and the endless bottles of liquid smoke, walks in the trails in the dark and her support and friendship, Tracy Turanick Forlenza for printing so many flyers to help with this and for her support and friendship, (please help us remove the flyers if you see them), Marian Schomp for her hikes in the woods, Christine Chiumento-Todd who guided me, lifted me up and was the voice on the other end of the phone during the tense moments leading up to this, and Eve Oli for her daily text messages and support and suggestions. Also, thank you to Mel Farrar for bringing Puge to my attention not only once but twice, and for persisting. I am a firm believer that our 4 legged friends bring us together in more ways than one. If I have forgotten anyone, I apologize.
This has been 4 MONTHS in the making, and now Puge is safe. He will need to be vetted, and definitely groomed. He is slowly coming out of his shell, even climbing on me today and putting his head on my shoulder while I cried. I am posting a few pics along with my very emotional video upon catching Puge. Tarah is creating a fundraiser for his vetting, etc for those of you who would like to donate and help as he was abandoned and vet costs as well as a grooming, tick and flea removal are upwards of several thousand dollars. He is going to need full workups, shots, medications, training and time. I am in awe and utter shock that this was pulled off like it was and I am looking forward to the days and weeks ahead to see where life takes us!! God bless all of you!! God bless Pudge, soon to be named something different!! Stay tuned for updates!