Missing dog’s outdoor adventure has a happy ending

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 3, 2013

By Kimberly Hopson

GARYVILLE – A local dog was recently returned to his Garyville owner through a touching act of compassion and an interesting coincidence.
Patricia Sadowski, an employee of San Francisco Plantation in Garyville, initially found the dog back in May in a very sad state. Sadowski said she saw the little dog, a chihuahua-terrier mix, wander into the back gate of the plantation and collapsed in the shade under the back wheel of a truck in the parking lot.
“I noticed him walk from the River Road, and he just went by the back tire and laid on the ground. I asked the maintenance guy if anyone knew this dog, and he said no,” said Sadowski. “He was panting a little bit, so I walked over and I petted him. He didn’t growl, and I said ‘Where you come from, boy?’ I stood him up, and he couldn’t hardly stand up, he was so weak. Just totally exhausted.”
Sadowski said the dog had mud caked all over him from waist to feet, about half an inch thick.
“That’s probably why he was exhausted, carrying all of that,” she said.
As an avowed animal lover, Sadowski said she couldn’t resist trying to help the little animal. But the plantation was about to close up for the evening. Sadowski knew she couldn’t just put him back out on the road, but the local shelter was already closed. Sadowski decided she would take him home for the night and contact a shelter in the morning. The plantation employee said she planned to find a no-kill shelter by any means possible, even if she had to drive a distance to get to one.
“I promised him when I took him home that I was going to find his home. I was not just going to drop him off at the shelter to put him down,” said Sadowkski.
After bringing him home and giving him a really good bath, Sadowski tried to feed the dog. Her co-worker had given her leftovers from his lunch — a big turkey leg and some mashed potatoes. Sadowski said the dog “tore up” the food, and she had to make him a second bowl of the stuff. She also went out and purchased three types of dog food for him that evening, but said the dog “turned his nose up at it,” something she thought was odd.
In a strange coincidence, Sadowski said she nicknamed the dog “Buddy” while he stayed with her. Sadowski called the shelter in the morning and explained about the dog, and the worker told her that someone had reported a dog of a similar description missing. She got the owner’s contact information from there.
“He’s been gone six days and the owner’s really upset. He’s 14 years old, and his name is Buddy. I was like ‘What!’ The lady said, ‘Are you alright ma’am?’ And I said, ‘You’re not going to believe this, but I named him Buddy last night,’” said Sadowski.
The plantation worker said she had prayed hard that night and asked God to help her find the dog’s owner.
“He even let me know his name. That’s definitely a testimony to God’s word,” she said.
Sadowski called the owner, Loretta Bourgeois, immediately to tell her about the dog. Her family came and picked him up immediately. It was from them that she found out Buddy was raised with a comfy lifestyle.
“He’s nothing but a table food dog. He never ate dog food in his life. That’s how he is,” said Bourgeois.
Bourgeois speculates that Buddy may have been trying to reach their old home in LaPlace in his travels. The Garyville resident said her mother-in-law had recently broken her hip, and the family moved to help take care of her. Bourgeois said that the night Buddy went missing, she decided to stay overnight at the hospital with her, a Sunday night.
Her husband called her on Monday to tell her he couldn’t find Buddy.
She filed a report with the animal shelter on Tuesday.
“The Sunday night when my husband came home he was not here. When he called me up on the phone the next day and told me was gone, it was automatic. Right then and there I broke down,” she said. “What happened to him between Sunday night all the way to Wednesday morning, I can’t tell you. It’s still a mystery to me.”
When asked if Buddy acted any differently since his mysterious journey, Bourgeois said he was the same as always. She said she’ll probably never really know what happened to Buddy the night he went missing, but she’s happy to have him back.
“He’s a dog, honey. If he could talk, it’d be alright. Then I’d know what happened to him,” she said.