#WoofWednesdays Henry's Adoption Success Story

My dog Henry just ran off near the Tahoe Donner downhill Area. He has a collar and is chipped. His leash is on him. Please repost everywhere. He is only 10 months old. 55 lbs reddish brown.

That was Pati Johnson's Facebook post at 7:42pm, December 31st. Her dog Henry was startled by the booming sound of nearby fireworks and took off running. It would be five very long and worrisome days before Pati and Henry would be happily reunited.

Henry at HSTT

"Meet Henry! He is available for adoption and hanging out at the front desk making sure our staff gets all the lovin' they can get before he finds his furrever home. Henry is 4 months old, and 30 lbs of fun and cuddles. He is neutered, up-to-date on vaccines and micro-chipped. He is full of puppy love and waiting for a lifetime of companionship with you!"

My husband (with whom I was very close) died in February. That is one reason I knew I wanted a dog: someone to keep me company. I did not really want a puppy. I did not really want a male. I did not really want a big dog, and I did not want to adopt a dog when I did - I wanted to wait a bit. But he was and is most definitely the right dog for me!! I didn’t know it when I adopted him, but Henry’s birthday is my husband’s date of death. I don’t believe in reincarnation or anything, but I love the coincidence and the opportunity to celebrate a happy event on what will surely be a sad day every year. It’s just me and Henry at home, but he loves other people. He has done well when I travel to friends and families homes. He is very bonded to me (and me to him). He goes to work with me every day. He has been my constant companion for the past 7 months and has helped me to get through the loss of my husband. He helps with the loneliness and makes me feel safe. Having him forces me to go out and get exercise (which would make my husband very happy). We walk several times a day, and then we take hikes on the weekends.

Then Henry went missing. Over the next several days, Pati and the community went to the extremes to find him.

In a community like this one, people are comfortable seeing dogs roam loose, so they might see a lost dog, but not realize that it is lost. My gut feeling was that if Henry showed his face, he would most likely go up to someone (especially if they had a dog) - but if they did not know he was missing, they would shoo him away. So I wanted as many people as possible to have him in their minds.

His picture went viral across Facebook pages, NextDoor and other social media sites. Pati updated her posts every day to keep it current. Flyers were distributed to neighbors, posted in local businesses, at trailheads, and faxed to vets and shelters from Reno to the Bay Area. Community members took their own dogs out looking for Henry, carrying leashes and treats in case he approached them. They set out clothing that smelled like home for him, and checked under all the decks and other possible hiding places in the area. Even the garbage collectors knew he was missing. There were several possible sightings, and his scent was even tracked.

In the end, Henry found his way to some people that I know, about a half mile from home. They had never met Henry, and I think had they not seen his picture so often and known he was missing they might have ignored him.

A very happy reunion!

I think that part of the reason that there was such a big push among my friends to find him was because my friends couldn’t stand for me to experience another huge loss so soon after my husband’s death, and so close to the one year anniversary. And it is interesting how that energy spread to so many others, without people knowing why. Adopting Henry was one of the best things I have ever done.

Henry's story is a good reminder for dog (and all pet) owners everywhere. Fireworks can scare pets and make them act erratic. On July 4th, New Years Eve and other firework-happy holidays, keep your furry family members safe by keeping them inside, with proper identification on at all times. Turn on the radio or TV to muffle the noise. If they do get out, spread the word widely and quickly, and don't give up hope.

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