Buddy, a 1-year-old beagle/Labrador mix, was reunited with his owners in Long Island, N.Y., after going missing for three weeks.
Buddy’s story is a dramatic one: The Humphrey family had hired a dog watcher through the pet-sitting app Wag while they vacationed at Disney World. The sitter made an alarming call to the family just a few days into their vacation to tell them Buddy had bolted out of an open door.
A massive hunt for the dog ensued, with Wag issuing a pet amber alert, offering a $1,000 reward, and even hiring a drone operator to search for Buddy.
The Humphrey family, however, says the company was slow to act when Buddy first went missing. According to them, the company only sent the sitter to look for Buddy and to hang up fliers.
“They’re claiming that they’re doing all these things, but nobody has seen anyone from Wag searching, except for the (boarder),” said Buddy’s owner Mary Ellen Humphrey.
This seems to be corroborated by the boarder, who broke down in tears and told the New York Daily News “I don’t know how you expect only me to be doing this.”
According to her, Buddy was “petrified” and hiding in his dog crate right before he ran away.
Wag’s co-founder, Jason Meltzer, told the Daily News in a statement, “Wag is doing everything it can to reunite Buddy with his family. It is the absolute highest priority for us.”
When Buddy first went missing, though, things looked grim. He had been reportedly seen limping after getting clipped by a car near John J Burns Park in East Massapequa, N.Y. To boot, Buddy wasn’t wearing his collar with ID tags.
Nearby Tackapausha Nature Preserve covers 84 acres of oak forest, ponds, and trails. This is where Buddy would later be found.
In the three weeks he was missing, the Humphreys were relentless in their search. They hired a team of canine trackers from Maine to join the effort, and needed the town mayor to give special permission to allow the missing posters to remain posted around town after threats of fines by city workers.
A neighbor walking her own dog eventually saw Buddy, as it happens, sitting by one of the posters with his photo. She called the Humphreys and they lured Buddy out of the woods with some McDonald’s cheeseburgers.
“We’re over the moon, over the moon,” said Humphrey. “He’s got a bunch of ticks, a bunch of cuts on his feet, and a couple of fleas.”
We have so many people to thank for finding Buddy. He was found and collared by Cathy Baughan. We had a tip from a woman…
The family is relieved to have Buddy back as he’s the best friend of their 4-year-old son, Jack, who is deaf. Buddy has since been fitted with a GPS tracker collar.
This is the second case of a Wag employee losing a customer’s dog. Two years ago, a dog walker hired through the app lost a Brooklyn customer’s dog, a Chihuahua named Duckie. Unfortunately, Duckie would later be struck and killed by a car.
Wag has extensive insurance that covers everything from a dog attacking someone during a walk to a dog’s accidental death. According to Wag’s website, its dog walkers and boarders are screened extensively.
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