With just about every news story out there being so sad or depressing or angry, it’s really nice to come across something that just makes you smile and lifts your heart. This one is a story about never giving up, ‘guardian angels’ and a dog’s indomitable spirit!

Thanks to The Morning Call Online for sharing this!

Macungie owner waits 21 months for lost dog

Then, two weeks ago, a stranger telephoned from Alburtis, 4 miles away.

By Wendy Solomon Of The Morning Call

This is a story with a happy ending at a time when happy endings are in short supply.

Call this Holly’s Story, because that’s her name.

About five years ago, Karen Holt of Macungie bought a rambunctious sheltie named Molly. The dog caught Frisbees, she sniffed things, she scratched, she played in the backyard. A good dog.

But Holt wanted Molly to have a companion while she left the house each day to work at the Macungie Institute.

Enter Holly, a shy, furry black-and-tan sheltie a year younger than Molly. The pair caught Frisbees together, played tug-of-war over the same ratty toy,they scratched, sniffed and played in the backyard. Good, happy dogs with healthy barks.

As Holt recalls it, she had just finished mowing her fenced-in backyard and heard the metallic click of the latch as she closed the gate behind her. By early evening, Holt called for her dogs to come inside, ”Holly! Molly!” But only Molly appeared.

”I saw the gate was open about 6 inches and my heart just sank,” Holt said.

Holt immediately started calling and looking for Holly in her S. Church Street neighborhood.

”I was confident I’d find her because she has a collar and tags with my name on it,” Holt said.

Thinking Holly might return by morning, Holt left the gate open. That was Aug. 25, 2005.

The next day, 50,000 people descended on Macungie for the Wheels of Time Hot Rod and Custom Jamboree and Holly still had not returned home. Holt worried the activity and commotion would frighten her timid dog. She worried about the potential hazards, the railroad, the traffic on Route 100, that could claim Holly’s life. Then Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans and she worried about the plight of the animals down there as she grieved for her own missing dog.

Holt handed out fliers and signs and put ads in newspapers and on radio stations. The neighbors, police and fire departments, animal shelters and her fellow workers at borough hall had long been told to keep an eye out for Holly.

The days turned into weeks, which turned into months and many sleepless nights, and the whole time ”you’re numb and you’re heartbroken,” Holt said.

Occasionally there’d be sightings and someone would call. Hunters who thought they caught a glimpse of a dog fitting Holly’s description up on Macungie Mountain. A concerned stranger in Salisbury Township. Holt would drop everything at work and look for her dog.

It would continue like that. And then there’d be nothing for a while. Holt got a call from someone last Thanksgiving about a possible sighting. At times Holt would try to reassure herself that maybe some kindhearted family had taken in Holly and that she was happy.

Everything changed on May 28, Memorial Day.

”I was at a picnic when my daughter called. She said some guy called and said he thinks he has Holly,” Holt recalled Sunday afternoon seated on her back porch.

The caller had accurately described Holly’s green collar and contacted the Humane Society with information he had gotten off her 2003 rabies tag and 2005 dog license.

”My hand was shaking so hard I couldn’t write down their address,” Holt said.

Holt immediately left the picnic and headed over to Kevin and Linda Duffy’s house on Gun Club Road in Alburtis, four miles from her home.

When Holt arrived, the Duffys led her into their garage.

A small, grungy tick-infested dog lay on the floor. It was Holly. And she immediately started to wag her tail and lick Holt’s tear-stained face.

Holly had apparently wandered into the Duffy’s garage the previous night and wasn’t discovered until the following morning when Kevin Duffy opened the garage door. With the help of neighbors Bob and Sandy Drexinger and Chris, Suzette and Samantha Ward, they tried to clean and feed the trembling dog who cowered in the corner. It took some sleuthing, because of her outdated dog tags and it being a holiday when public agencies are closed, but they managed to track down Holly’s owner.

It’s anybody’s guess how Holly survived her nearly two years. Despite contracting Lyme disease, for which she’s being treated, she has come out of her ordeal remarkably healthy. No broken bones, little weight loss. And she is in great spirits, playing tug-of-war again with her pal Molly in the backyard.

”This story has a very happy ending,” Holt concludes.

Maybe this is a story that teaches never to give up hope, to be kind to stray animals and to make sure your pet always wears current identification tags.

This is a real ‘feel good’ story!! Kudos to the Duffy’s and friends who cared enough to take in the ‘stray’ dog and care for her and make the efforts to try to find her owner. 😀

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