Yesterday I had an experience that I would say defines what Patch is all about — being part of the community.
I received a call from a woman I've known for about 12 years at around 5:30 p.m. She was clearly upset, her Pug, Lucy, had gotten out of their fenced in yard about two hours earlier.
Her husband, Wayne, left a class to look for the family pet. First, he picked his daughter up at school, brought her home, and told her, "Daddy's going to try to find Lucy." With his daughter safe at home with mommie and their other Pug, Gatsby, Wayne climbed into his truck and began his search.
In the meantime Richele was texting me a photo of Lucy and telling me a few things about her, such as, her fondness for carrots, so I could put together a short story and hopefully make it easier for strangers to catch her.
Within a few minutes of posting the announcement on Facebook, I received the first call from someone who had spotted her 15 minutes earlier on Meetinghouse Lane near Ridge Road.
I called Richele and then updated the Facebook page.
A couple of minutes later the searcher called again and said Lucy had been seen on Ridge, heading toward Peck Place School.
Again, I called Richele and updated the Facebook page and as the rain began to fall a bit harder, I headed out to join the others in the search.
At about 7 p.m. as I was driving down Meetinghouse Lane, I got another call, "She's on Pinetree, and just ran into the woods." I passed by a car I had seen twice already. (Another searcher, I thought)
I drove down to Pinetree and called Wayne as I passed Peck Lane. He said he was on Peck and headed my way. After I told him which area of Pinetree to go, I drove over to Oakview just in case she came through the woods in that direction.
I put the latest location online from my iPhone and Richele updated the comments on the Facebook page. Then, after about 15 minutes one of the searchers called again, "We got her!" she said, "I saw her owner's truck, he went into the woods, then he came out and he caught her. She's safe. My daughter is bringing her carrots now."
She said everyone there was so excited, relieved and happy that Lucy was going home to her family.
I thanked her for all the help and then drove over to Wayne and Richele's house for the homecoming.
What I saw was one very wet little pug and her owner both looking like drowned rats, soaked to the skin, dirty and cold.
His little girl greeted them inside the kitchen and Wayne said, "I told you I'd try to find her, and thanks to a lot of people that helped, she's home now."
His daughter smiled and petted the little traveler on the head.
Normally Lucy would run to Wayne when he called her, so he said he was surprised at what happened when he arrived on Pinetree Drive.
"I went into the woods and heard a noise, but I thought — that's too loud to be Lucy — and I saw about four deer," Wayne said. "I knew she couldn't be in there so I headed back out into the yard and I saw her running across someone's lawn."
"I called to her and she kept going," he said. "I got into my truck and drove a few yards, then jumped out, ran after her and dove onto a lawn and caught her."
He remembers seeing other people who'd been looking for her, including our Patch tipster, but one person stood out in his mind.
"I want to say a special thank you to everyone who helped us find Lucy," he said. "There was one man with a hoodie walking around in the pouring rain with a flashlight and a dog toy, feel free to give us a call. Our number is 203-619-2117, my name is Wayne. Thank you everybody."
This is what Orange is all about. We saw it in March when a young girl went missing, and last night, we saw the same kindness and concern for this little dog.
I am proud to be a part of a news organization that people can turn to for up to the minute news and get out there and bring a family a happy ending like this in less than two hours. Without so much immediate help, I don't know if Lucy would have come home safely last night.