Casey was lost in Wood River, Illinois for 15 days. His owner, Pat Murphy, had taken Casey with him on a little trip on January 20, 2005. Casey somehow escaped from Pat’s motor home without Pat noticing (slipped out through the door). The area is wooded, and had some new construction in progress for a shopping center.
Pat began searching for Casey. In the coming days he made posters, contacted the police and state troupers, went door to door to the few homes in the area. Along the way he met a local rescue person, Missy from Min Pin Rescue and also Partners for Pets, who offered some advice. The search continued.
After about 6 days Pat contacted Glenn Short of Beardie rescue, who had originally coordinated Casey’s placement with Pat. Glenn immediately contacted the Beardie Rescue people near Pat’s area, and also others who help Beardie Rescue. He also notified the Beardie List (a Yahoo group), in hope of finding volunteers to help search for Casey. Julie Patzius and Janet Fiske joined in the search for Casey.
Casey is a very shy Bearded Collie. Casey was originally placed through Beardie Rescue after he was taken from a Puppymill auction. He had recently made progress towards being socialized. But he was still very frightened of any strangers – making the search more difficult.
After a week had gone by, Casey’s story was well known in his area. Local radio stations called for help, his story was told in a newspaper advertisement, and hundreds of posters had been placed. Even some homeless people helped in the search. Some times they would lead pat to a dog who would be dead in a field or near a road, none were Casey. Occasionally, but few and far between, a sighting of a black and white dog was reported and Pat would rush to the area. Volunteers put up web pages with a map similar to the one below, to assist in finding Casey.
The local rescue provided an trap and it was place where Casey was last seen. It was stocked with Kentucky Fried Chicken and other foods that Casey might be attracted to. This had to be moved a couple of times.
Someone would report to the BeardieList and to others involved in Casey’s story each day. Hundreds of Beardie owners prayed for Casey, and offered advice on how to search and capture him. Some even tried to communicate with him. Occasionally someone would get a glimpse of Casey – Casey was limping and seemed to use only three legs. He would always avoid the person who saw him, dashing away, very frightened.
One day, Thursday Feb. 3, Pat himself saw Casey. He was walking past some woods. There was a light snow and he found new tracks. He believes that he spooked Casey from the woods. Then he received a call on his cell phone that Casey was seen near a used car dealer (very lower right of the map below), which was near a Levy some distance away. Before he got to the area, another call was relayed to him from his home that he was seen again, moving south east along the top of the levy which was like a trail. Pat got to the area – and stopped his car. Casey looked at the car and then turned to go away. Pat thought he might have only one chance – and decided to call Casey. But Casey was frightened and ran quickly away. He was still limping but moved very fast.
The local rescue advised that Pat move the animal trap to the area by the levy, Casey would surely use that path again. Pat did so, and checked the trap that evening. He decided to poor some juice from a tuna can on some concrete in front of the trap.
At 12:30 AM on February 4, Pat received a call from a patrolman that he had seen Casey by the Levy. But when Pat checked he was once again gone. But just after 9AM he received a call from the used car dealership that there was a lot of barking coming from the levy area. There was a dog in the trap. Pat rushed to the scene and found Casey in the trap.
Pat was at first afraid of what Casey might do when he opened the trap. He would have to go inside, head first, to get a gentle leader on Casey. Would Casey be so afraid that he would bite? But Casey only licked Pat when he got into the trap, and allowed Pat to put the leader on him.
Casey went home and seemed to like having his normal bed again. He of course had to be cleaned up and dozens of burrs removed from his coat.
Casey was taken to the vet. Casey was very good at the vet; he willingly walked into the office, got on the scale, and walked into the examination room. He had a soft tissue injury to his front leg near a shoulder. The vet didn’t think he had been hit by a car; more likely, he had jumped over something and been injured on the landing. But further testing by a specialist found that his elbow was not reparable. Casey’s injury resulted in his leg having to be amputated on February 18, 2005. He came home from the vet (surgery was by laser for quicker recovery). Pat is closer than ever to Casey. Hopefully he will be able to continue his progress in behavior change. Pat knows this will take a long time for such a shy dog.
Pat surely loves Casey. He searched day and night, barely sleeping, until he was exhausted. Yet he continued each day. In the end, Pat wanted everyone to know that he would have never believed there were so many caring and loving people out there who would help him in his search, and provide words of comfort and hope. He wanted to make sure everyone was thanked for their kindness.