Get your Furbaby stuff.

Dog reunited with owner

By Amy Schweitzer
Published: Tuesday, November 30, 2010 9:13 AM CST

ALDA - Darry, a collie/golden retriever, is safe at home back in Colorado after wandering Hall County for a week.

On Nov. 22, Monica Shields of Golden, Colo. was on her way to her hometown in Michigan when black ice on Interstate 80 near the Wood River exit caused the vehicle to roll.

Shields, her human friends and two other dogs had just bumps and bruises, but Darry escaped through a broken window.

"She was gone before we had even gotten out," Shields said of the dog she had rescued from a pound about eight months earlier.

For a week Shields and her friends looked for the dog.

"We went out for six hours (walking the fields near the crash site) before we were forced to go home," she said.

Back in Colorado, Shields posted a plea with pictures on Facebook, ran ads in the Independent and called to around to shelters.

"The outpouring on Facebook was amazing," she said, adding that she had hundreds of well-wishers call and e-mail saying they were praying and reposting the plea to look for the dog.

"It totally renewed my faith in mankind," she said.

One of those who called was Fred Schritt of Grand Island, who said he would do everything in his power to find Darry.

"At first I thought 'Oh that's nice, another well-wisher. Thank You.' But then he called back to say he spent eight hours out walking looking for her and hadn't found her but he was going to keep looking."

"He was a total stranger but was willing to help," she said.

Carol Matthews, who lives near Grand Island, also called to offer help. Shields said Matthews put up posters all over Grand Island and Hastings.

Schritt said he saw the ad in Saturday morning's paper.

"I just got a lump in my throat knowing how sad she had to be," he said Monday. "I couldn't sit here and not do anything."

Schritt searched for two full days driving more than 100 miles each day and passing out cards to farmers offering a $1,000 reward for the recovery of the dog.

Towards the end of Sunday night, he saw a collie mix dog along the edge of I-80.

"My eyes were so tired, but I happened to look right and I saw a dog," Schritt said.

He pulled over and tried to get the dog to come closer but he couldn't get closer than 40 feet to the dog, Schritt said. Suddenly the dog bolted straight across the Interstate, thick with Thanksgiving traffic.

"My heart about stopped," Schritt said, but Darry made it across without harm.

Even though the dog escaped him, Schritt called Shields to tell her that he had seen Darry and that he was going to try again Monday.

Early Monday morning Shields and a friend were on their way to Grand Island to help search when she received a call on her cell phone about 8 a.m. saying Darry had been found near Alda.

Zach Kramer was getting out of his Jeep at his parents' farm about three miles northeast of Alda when a friendly dog came up and wanted to jump in his vehicle.

"She just started whining and wanted in my truck real bad," he said with a laugh.

Kramer notice the dog's pink collar and tags with an owner's phone number and called Shields.

"We were all screaming in the car, going crazy," Shields said with a laugh.

But with all of the posters, newspaper ads and postings on Facebook, Kramer hadn't seen any of them. He just figured it was a lost dog that needed help to find its way home.

"If I lost my dog, I'd want someone to help," he said. "Everybody knew more than I did. I didn't see any of the flyers or anything."

Shields later thought maybe Darry went to Kramer because he had a similar vehicle as her and the dog may have thought it was her Jeep.

After calling Shields, Kramer took the dog to Grand Island Veterinary Hospital where Dr. Jay Stewart cleaned up Darry for free.

"She was covered in stickers and muddy," Kramer said.

The reunion between dog and owner at the Alda Interchange was what Schritt called "a storybook finish."

He gave Kramer the $1,000 reward even though Kramer tried to refuse it.

Shields said she couldn't believe so many people were willing to help find Darry.

"Living in Colorado, I have never met so many nice Nebraskans before," Shields said. "I was blown away."