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September 13th, 2015:

Finding Ripley

Eleven days ago my friends’ dog, Ripley, went missing. Thankfully, yesterday she was found and now she’s home safe again.

Ripley's Home! (Photo courtesy of the Almaraz Family)

Ripley’s Home! (Photo courtesy of the Almaraz Family)

I can’t imagine a how hard those ten days were for Ripley’s owners. It must have been devastating going to bed every night knowing that Ripley was out there somewhere, worrying if she was okay. I am so glad and grateful that she is home.

To this day, I have yet to meet Ripley. I’ve met their other dog Jezebel, but not Ripley, or “Ripples” as I started to call her in my mind when I was out looking for her. I know what it’s like to love a dog and how powerless I feel when I can’t fix her when something is wrong. When I was at work, I wanted to be out there looking for her, thinking that serendipitously Ripley and I might be in the same area at the same time.

There were days I left the office early just so I could drive around the area where she was last seen. I walked around downtown Phoenix handing out flyers and talking to anyone who might see her. I’m pretty sure I talked to more homeless people in the last twelve days that I have in my entire life in aggregate.

Losing and finding Ripley showed me the difference between a missing person in a missing dog. With a missing child, there are Amber Alerts to get the word out quickly. With any missing person, you can file a police report and the case will be investigated. You can enlist the news media to help you. With a missing dog, it is up to you to put up flyers and use your network and social media to spread the word – it’s very grass roots. You hope that people will listen or see and remember your dog in case they see her. Or you hope that someone will turn your dog in to the humane society or a vet’s office where her microchip will be scanned.

Ripley’s owners did an amazing job getting the word out quickly and disseminating flyers. It was because of these flyers that two samaritans spotted Ripley, recognized her, and called her owners. I was so relieved when I got the message that Ripley had been found – a little thin, pretty dirty, very tired, and with a set of torn up footpads – but mostly ok. It was quite satisfying to put my supply of Ripley flyers in the recycling bin. I’m so glad this nightmare is over for this family.