My dog is where?
That was Butte, Mont., student Tyler Griffin’s first response when he got the call after putting lost-dog notices in the local paper, on the radio and on social media. His beloved pit bull mix named Grizz had disappeared.
It turns out Grizz was on a road trip. A couple driving from Washington state to Texas saw him wandering loose in Butte and scooped him into their car on Jan. 23, thinking they would keep him. Two days and about 1,300 miles later, they decided they could not care for him and dropped him off at the Heartland SPCA in Merriam.
A microchip between the animal’s shoulder blades led to a disconnected phone number. Luckily, the shelter in Butte where the chip was implanted had a current number for Griffin, and the connection eventually was made.
Griffin was euphoric, but also upset with the people who took Grizz.
“You see a dog in a town, you don’t take them out of town, especially out of the state,” he said.
Then there was the question of how to get Grizz back home. The student at Montana Tech has a full-time job working the graveyard shift at a fitness center.
“But my dog’s more important than pretty much anything,” Griffin said of the good-natured pet that turned a year old on Jan. 1. “He’s a New Year’s puppy. I picked him the day he was born.”
Pit bull lover Kathi Thies of Overland Park volunteered to drive Grizz halfway, to Cheyenne, Wyo., to be reunited with his owner. They left Wednesday evening in an SUV painted with paw prints.
“I would want somebody to do the same thing for me,” Thies said. “I’d like to fly, but he’s too big for a carry-on.”
During his brief stay here Grizz saw the sights, including the Country Club Plaza. He was photographed in front of a “Welcome to Kansas” sign and was given a Jayhawk kerchief to wear.
“We wanted to show him Kansas City hospitality,” Thies said, adding she plans to post the photos on her Kathi Barr Thies Facebook page.
Joe Hinkle, director of shelter operations at Heartland SPCA, said there are lessons in this tale.
First, microchip your pets and keep your contact information up to date.
Second, if you see a stray dog or cat, don’t complicate things by taking it halfway across the country.
“It’s best to take them to a local clinic,” Hinkle said.