First Posted: 2/3/2014
Katie is only 3 years old but has already had five litters of puppies. A victim of puppy mills, the young Bernese Mountain Dog was rescued from the mill on Dec. 6, 2013 and placed with an adoptive family in the Back Mountain.
Just three days later, Katie became frightened and dug her way out of her new back yard.
For the next eight weeks, Katie was on the loose. There were many sightings but Katie never got close enough to anyone to be rescued.
Katie’s adventures ended on Feb. 2 – happily – when she was was recovered by pet detective Steve Hagey in Moosic, of all places. It had been quite a ride for the young Berner.
From there, Katie was transported to a new home in Long Island, New York where she was met by three older Bernese Mountain Dogs who have become her guardian angels.
Katie was originally rescued from the puppy mill by the Bernese Friends Worldwide Rescue (BFW) organization based in Ontario, Canada.
According to Christa Duff, BFW president, when Katie escaped from her new home, many people stepped forward to help find her and get her to safety. In addition, many followed Katie’s story and emotional events that unfolded daily on a Katie: Lost Bernese Mountain Dog Facebook page.
Lisa O’Meara, a member of the BFW organization, traveled from her home in Long Island, New York to Northeast Pennsylvania on more than one occasion, hoping to help rescue Katie. O’Meara distributed flyers everywhere she could and found a hunter who, upon checking his camera, realized he had captured Katie on film. From there, O’Meara kept up on Katie sightings.
Volunteers at Blue Chip Farms Animal Refuge became involved when they spotted Katie and left food out for her. Katie also spent time on a large farm in the area where the farmer offered her food.
At one point, Katie was reported to be traveling along a busy highway. Then, she was spotted by a United Parcel Service driver. BFW personnel contacted the UPS staff and instructed them on how to leave out food for Katie.
On her second trip to the area, O’Meara teamed up with Bonnie Lynn, a pet detective, and attempted to catch Katie with a food tent but learned that wild animals were eating the food they left out for Katie.
Then, Katie found a deer carcass and fed off that. Lynn put the carcass in her truck and drove off, only to have Katie follow her truck. Lynn then dumped the carcass, hoping to get close enough to grab Katie but Katie would have none of that. Anytime Lynn got close to her, Katie took off.
It was at this point O’Meara realized she had bonded with Katie and asked whether or not it was possible to adopt a lost dog. BFW personnel contacted Katie’s original adoptive family who agreed to relinquish their rights to her. Katie was now O’Meara’s dog – all O’Meara had to do was capture her.
Katie had made her way to Moosic where a family put food out for her, discovering that Katie loved gravy and McDonald’s cheeseburgers. BFW members were in touch with the family and kept an eye on Katie’s habits. When they realized Katie visited the home at about the same time every day, they reached out to Hagey. After Katie was observed eating for 12 mintues on a Satuday night, Hagey put his trap in place for Sunday’s feeding time.
Food was placed inside a very large cage. Katie arrived at the home at just the right time and, when she entered the cage to eat, Hagey hit a remote control button, trapping Katie inside.
After a visit to Northeast Veterinary Hospital where it was determined the Katie had Lyme Disease, a fever, porcupine quills in her ear and a respiratory infections for which IV antibiotics were prescribed, Katie was on her way to her new home in Long Island.
In addition to O’Meara, Lynn, Hagey and Duff, Katie’s capture team members included Christine Cooper, Bill Bussler, Sandi Renner, Victoria and Dave Riebe and Dave Strickler.
Together, the team members laughed, cried, got mad, yelled and cried more but never gave up.
Sometimes, it takes a while to get where you’re supposed to be. Katie certainly took the longest road possible but it appears she is now home where she belongs.