Midland resident’s six-pound Chihuahua returns after missing for nearly a month

Dawn Hartley had resigned herself to the inevitable. It was time to stop looking for her boyfriend.

After three weeks of Facebook posts, contacting neighbors — and hoping — she’s come to terms with the reality that her canine best friend never comes home.

Then, miraculously, the next day, she received the call she had been waiting for.

A Midland County Pit Stop animal rescuer found Buddy, Hartley’s 4-year-old Chihuahua, inside an abandoned car near his home.

Against all expectations, and after almost a month on the run, the six-pound Chihuahua had been found. The wayward furball came back to Hartley three pounds lighter, but the bond between the two is stronger than ever since their reunion.

“We were really close (even before he got lost),” Hartley said. “He’s like my second skin.”

Hartley adopted Buddy about three years ago as a one-year-old rescue. Before disappearing, he was a scared and shy dog ​​around everyone but her.

Although Buddy may be a wanderer, Hartley said he usually stays close to her.

One day, the second week of August, Hartley came out and walked through the gate to her garden. An hour later, she noticed Buddy was nowhere to be found and assumed he had followed her out the door.

This realization was quickly followed by neighbors telling him that they had spotted Buddy on his own. Other sightings reported that he was seen crossing Lyon and Patrick roads. The fuzzy little ghost apparently roamed Dow land and headed for the Tittabawassee River near Dow Diamond and I-Park, an area that contains industrial operations from companies like Dow and DuPont.

I-Park workers occasionally spotted the black-haired Chihuahua, but they were never able to catch up to him. Hartley and Gwen Drake, founder of animal rescue group Midland County Pit Stop, said they were in contact with security and I-Park workers during the search.

“They were looking for him, but they could never find him,” Hartley said. “(Buddy) was very evasive.”

Rachel Miner, DuPont production manager at APT in Midland, said when workers saw a post about Buddy in the AskMidland Facebook group, they posted missing photos of Buddy on the bulletin board in his building, due to the immediate vicinity of where the dog had been spotted. .

“Shortly after they did that, we saw him running near the building,” Miner said. “Everyone was like, ‘Oh my God, it’s Buddy!'”

It is rare for stray animals and lost pets to wander around the I-Park, so the workers were surprised to see him running around there. One of Miner’s engineers put food and a dog bed to lure him in so they could catch him. Miner added that there were seven or eight sightings of Buddy around the building. However, he always ran away when the workers approached him.

Hartley and Drake both worried about Buddy’s well-being and any predators he might encounter. Coyotes, raptors and even raccoons could have targeted the little dog during his walk. Fortunately, he only suffered insect bites during his disappearance, Hartley said.

While these types of dogs may not be natural hunters, Drake said Buddy likely went into survival mode and may have tried to hunt for food, although he may not have successful. The food distributed by DuPont employees might have helped Buddy survive in the wild.

“(Buddy’s) resilience is amazing to me,” Drake said. “The fact that this dog wasn’t injured by an animal, hit by a car, (or) something like that is huge.”

Buddy was actually not captured at the I-Park property. Two weeks ago, a resident spotted the severely dehydrated and malnourished Chihuahua inside an old car near RW Electric. A few people who were helping Hartley look for Buddy contacted her to tell her the news.

It was Drake who broke the news to Hartley – Buddy was back.

Once Buddy’s weakened body – he couldn’t walk – was back in Hartley’s arms, she immediately drove to a veterinary clinic to get him water, food and rest he needed. needed so much. The dog was half its normal body weight when it was finally found.

In the two weeks since his return, Buddy ate regularly and regained most of his weight. Although still nervous, Hartley said Buddy seemed calmer and more confident overall since his return.

If a pet goes missing, Drake suggests the owner post photos and descriptions in Facebook groups such as Lost Pets in Midland, MI and contact local animal shelters. She also strongly recommends that pet owners microchip dogs and cats with up-to-date information so lost pets can be returned to owners more quickly.

Once a pet is found, Drake also said pet owners should test them for parasites, as they were likely eating dead animals and garbage if they were missing for a long time. She also implores people who see pets roaming outside to help that animal in some way if possible.

“If you see a dog out, it shouldn’t be out,” Drake said. “(It’s a) big part of the solution.

“Whether you can stop and help this dog or not, find help (and) do something.”