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Lost, blind and deaf, poodle gets some help in making the 770-mile trip home


A blind, deaf, elderly poodle who went missing from her home in North Carolina a month ago was to be reunited with her family today after being found on the side of a road in Massachusetts.

Coco, a white miniature poodle, was flown to Johnston County’s airport Sunday morning by Pilots N Paws, a non-profit group of pilots and plane owners around the country who fly rescued, shelter and foster animals to new homes.

Today, her owner, Toby Brooks of Concord, N.C., was scheduled to drive to Clayton, in Johnston County, to pick her up.

According to Brooks, she let Coco out into the yard one day last month and, a minute later, she had disappeared. Coco wasn’t wearing a tag and was not microchipped.

They were still searching for her when Coco turned up 770 miles away.

On Aug. 9, in the small, central Massachusetts town of Belchertown, an animal control officer received a tip about a stray poodle on the road and picked her up, according to the Raleigh News & Observer.

Anna Kuralt-Fenton, an animal control officer in Belchertown, said she later posted a picture of the dog on the department’s Facebook page.

After that, the department received a call from someone in Belchertown who said their neighbor had picked a small dog up from the side of the road while traveling in North Carolina and brought it home.

She said the neighbor, who she wouldn’t identify, realized she couldn’t care for the dog and left her on the street.

Kuralt-Fenton got back on the Internet to try and find the dog’s owners, and began networking with animal control officers in North Carolina.

One of them, Angela Lee, an animal control officer in Clayton, began posting photos of Coco on lost and found dog sites, and that’s when she got an email from Coco’s owner.

Veterinary records confirmed the dog found in Massachusetts was Coco.

Kuralt-Fenton went on to help arrange Coco’s flight back to North Carolina, and Lee was there when the plane landed.

“I can’t believe I’m crying,” Lee said, “This isn’t even my dog.”

Lee kept the dog until today.

“I pick up a lot of dogs that are never re-claimed,” she said. “This is the best feeling ever to know she’s going to be home. That’s where she needs to be.”

(Photo: Clayton Animal Control Officer Angela Lee holds Coco shortly after the dog was flown back to North Carolina, by Lil Condo / News & Observer)

Dogs banned from Concord cemeteries

The city council in Concord, New Hampshire, has voted to ban dogs — we’re talking live ones — from cemeteries.

Dogs are no longer permitted in the 13 cemeteries in Concord as a result of the vote, and those caught disturbing the deceased will face fines between $50 and $1,000, according to the Concord Monitor.

Councilor Steve Shurtleff proposed the measure, saying using cemeteries as dog parks is disrespectful — though it’s not clear whether anyone was actually doing that to any large extent.

What the councilors were aiming at, most agree, was preventing dogs from urinating or defecating in cemeteries.

What they passed was a blanket ban that fails to take into consideration that some families might want to bring their dog to visit a deceased family member — or bring a deceased family member’s dog to visit their master’s grave.

The council — apparently obsessed with dog waste, and apparently pandering to the uptight members of their constituency — neglected to factor in the comfort dogs can provide when families are coping with the death of a loved one.

So while we admire their effort to keep dead people covered with dirt — and the rocks set atop dead people covered with dirt — pristine, we’ll have to add this to our list of dumb dog laws.

Woman pays dearly for return of her Chorkie

A California woman paid $10,000 to get her dog Lexi back after the Chihuahua-Yorkie mix was taken from her Cadillac Escalade while it was parked outside a restaurant.

The Contra Costa Times termed it a “reward,” but it sounds more like a ransom.

On  Friday night, Debbie Brown and her boyfriend left a restaurant in Concord and found a window of their vehicle had been smashed. Lexi, a 2-year-old “Chorkie” was gone.

Brown posted fliers promising a $10,000 reward, no questions asked, for Lexi’s safe return, which led to a flood of callers — none of whom had the dog.

She called a psychic for help, and a pet detective, who told her that chorkies are in demand and that dognappers target them for breeding purposes.

Over the weekend, Brown received photos of Lexi  via e-mail, and made arrangments to pick her up Monday morning in Alameda, where the cash and the dog were exchanged.

Elena Bicker, executive director of the Walnut Creek-based Animal Rescue Foundation, said the case shows the importance of never leaving pets unattended in public areas, especially small breeds that have been targeted by dognappers.

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” Bicker said. “And this certainly was a pound of cure.”

It’s not clear if Brown ever reported the theft of her dog to police, or how long she had left her beloved dog alone in the vehicle.

“She’s my life, she’s our baby,” Brown said. “I used to laugh at people like me and say ‘It’s just a dog.’ But she is a member of the family.”

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