Deaf dog found a week after escaping hospital
Luna, a deaf but resourceful bulldog mix who escaped from a veterinary hospital in New York and was missing for more than a week, has been returned to her owners.
A surveillance tape at Shaker Veterinary in Latham showed Luna pushed open her crate door on Jan 2. She went through several more doors and then managed to open the main door of the hospital by pulling down a handicapped handle and pushing it open.
After the dog, who had been at the hospital for a couple of days, was reported missing, her owners, Ralph Rataul and his wife, Shelley, put up an $800 reward, which included their money, a contribution from Shaker Veterinary Hospital and donations from friends.
A story on her escape appeared in the Albany Times Union, and concerned citizens in the area are believed to have left food out for the dog after hearing about her — Dee Dee’s Tavern, for one, which put out some prime rib. Over the weekend, 200 volunteers searched for Luna, and family members and friends spent hours driving around on lunch hours and after work looking for her, the newspaper said.
On Monday, a couple found Luna in their backyard in Loudonville — more than a week after her disappearance — a couple of miles from the veterinary hospital.
Recognizing her from a story in Sunday’s Times Union, the couple tried to lure Luna inside, but she resisted. They called the veterinary hospital and the hospital staff called Rataul, who came and picked her up.
“I’m overjoyed,” Rataul said Monday. “This is unreal. She’s home, she’s safe.”
The couple, who adopted the dog three years ago, had feared the worst, due to the dog’s handicap.
“She’s not an outdoors dog, not a hunting dog, but some instinctual stuff must have kicked in” said Ken Wolfe, assistant director of the hospital. “Whatever she was doing, she was doing it right.” Luna lost 12 pounds but was in good shape, the vet said.
The couple who found Luna in their backyard, meanwhile, turned down the reward money, asking that it go to charity. Rataul said half of the reward will be donated to the ASPCA and the other half to the Mohawk Hudson Humane Society.
(Photo: Luna and owner Ralph Rataul. By Skip Dickstein/Albany Times Union)
Posted by jwoestendiek January 13th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: albany times union, bulldog, bulldog mix, deaf, dog, escaped, escapes, found, happy ending, hospital, latham, lost, loudonville, luna, new york, ralph rataul, reward, shaker veterinary hospital, veterinary