January 09, 2013 - A Troy family rejoiced after being reunited with their dog that had been missing for 10 days and was finally found in Oxford Township on Jan. 5.
Alden Resh, 8 with his dog Tony who was found on Jan 5 after missing for 10 days. Photo submitted. (click for larger version)
Owner Erika Resh said her dog, Tony, a 14-year-old Australian Shepherd mix that is deaf, went missing on Dec. 26, but Resh and her family didn't learn about it until Dec. 28.
Tony had been staying at a relative's house in the Metamora-Hadley area, while the Resh family was on Christmas vacation.
Resh said it was the first time they had left Tony since getting him at six months old from an Animal Shelter out of Detroit.
Tony's running away "is completely uncharacteristic of him because my dog has never run away from anybody his entire life," Resh said. It didn't help things that the relative's property backs up to the Metamora State Park.
Upon hearing the news, Resh said she contacted Wendy Yax, of Lapeer's Adoptable Animals, via Facebook and before Resh and her family were back in town, Yax had already organized a search team to go after Tony and posted flyers all over.
"Without Wendy, none of this could have ever happened," Resh added. "She started this whole ball rolling."
Resh said they searched the state park from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Dec. 31 with no luck. To add to their troubles, not only was her dog missing, but her husband, Tom, who is a civilian in the United States Air Force had to fly back to the Middle East.
"My husband was just devastated because he had to leave," she said. "Me and my eight-year-old son, Alden were stuck here."
Resh said almost daily she was receiving calls of her dog being sighted heading south towards Oxford and all she could hope for was that Tony knew home was south and he was trying to head to it.
"It's was hard when we didn't find him at the end of the day, because everyday we thought that was going to be the day," she said.
After nine hard days of looking, Saturday proved to be the lucky day.
Resh said about 25 people were out looking for Tony around Oakwood Road in Oxford Township.
Over the past nine days, based on sightings, Tony had made his way from Metamora down Diehl Road, to Mud Lake Road, then across Big Fish Lake and Davison Lake Road down to Oakwood Road.
Resh said Jay Derrek, of Metamora, who had been tracking Tony all week with his German Shepherd Max, chased Tony down to Oakwood and Hurd roads, but it was actually Max who caught up with Tony.
"I don't know what he said, but Jay gave Max a command and he caught Tony and took him down and held him there until someone could leash him," Resh said. "It's nothing short of a miracle quite honestly because if I had tried tracking him on my own without everybody helping there is no way I would have (found) him."
"It was just crazy to me that people would come out just to help somebody they've never met and help a dog they've never met because it was the right thing to do," she added. "It just kind of leaves you speechless without the words to really describe it."
After shedding tears of joy to have "her boy" back again, Resh took Tony to Parker Veterinary Hospital on Mechanic St. in Oxford.
"They did an awesome job, they took care of him, they cleaned him up, sent me home with medicine and directions for my vet to follow up with. They hydrated him, gave him IVs, they were really wonderful to him," she said. "For 10 days on the run and 14 years old Tony was in incredible condition with only minor frostbite on his paws and one cut."
Erika said Alden was ecstatic to have Tony back home.
"Your life as a kid (10 days) is a long time," she said. "He's been there his whole life with that dog."
Resh's husband was also overwhelmed at the news.
"It was super emotional and really emotional time for us as a family," she said. "He is over there and we're here."
As far as advice to others who lose a dog or a pet, Resh said don't give up, make sure to print plenty of flyers and put them everywhere.
"We put out over 600 flyers and signs," she said. "That was key because with sightings people called and we knew where to go."
Though she lives a little ways away from the Metamora/Lapeer area, Resh said she definitely plans to "pay it forward," by helping search for other lost dogs in the future.
"I'm forever indebted and grateful to these people," she said. "They are forever a part of our lives, every time I look at him (Tony) I see the faces of the people who worked so hard to save him and bring him home."
Trevor graduated with degrees in English and communications from Rochester College. He wrote for his college and LA View newspapers before joining The Clarkston News in May 2007.