2013-01-09 / Front Page

Lost & then found

Dozens of volunteers assist in search for missing dog
BY KRYSTAL JOHNS
810-452-2601 • kjohns@mihomepaper.com


Erika Resh of Troy and her son Alden, 8, were reunited with their 14-year-old Australian shepherd mix, Tony, after he roamed for 10 days through Hadley Township. A search effort by dozens of volunteers brought the dog home safely. Erika Resh of Troy and her son Alden, 8, were reunited with their 14-year-old Australian shepherd mix, Tony, after he roamed for 10 days through Hadley Township. A search effort by dozens of volunteers brought the dog home safely. HADLEY TWP — Elderly, deaf and lost, Australian shepherd mix Tony roamed the snowy countryside in and around the Metamora-Hadley Recreation Area and Big Fish Lake for 10 days before he was saved by the combined kindness of a heck of a lot of strangers.

Tony’s owner, Erika Resh of Troy, dropped her dog off at her aunt’s house the day after Christmas, and only a couple hours later, the dog slipped out while another dog in the home was being let out. He took off, and couldn’t hear Resh’s aunt calling for him.

Resh didn’t know for several days that her dog was missing, as her aunt didn’t want to ruin her vacation. When she finally found out, she was in a hotel room north of Toronto, and didn’t know what to do to help. She found the Lapeer County Animal Shelter online and went to their Facebook page, where she put a notice about her missing dog.


Photos courtesy of Lapeer’s Adoptable Animals on Facebook Photos courtesy of Lapeer’s Adoptable Animals on Facebook “I would say within 10 minutes, Wendy Yax got back to me on Facebook,” Resh said. “She asked for a picture of him. Luckily, because of Facebook, I had a picture of him available.”

From there, Resh said, Yax really made it a mission to help find Tony. Through the effective social-networking grapevine, the word about the missing dog was spread. Around 600 fliers were printed up and posted, along with laminated signs, and dozens of searchers made it a priority to spend hours every day searching for Tony.

As the news about Tony spread, people started reporting sightings of the dog, and organized searches were carried out to track him. At one point, they missed him by two minutes. Finally, on Jan. 5, the dog was brought to safety. There were two searches planned for that day, at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Tony was spotted around 12:45 in the area of Herd and Oakwood roads, but the group of searchers was frightening him and causing him to continue running away. Finally, it was a man named Jay Derek and his German Shepherd, Max, who got Tony.


Max, a German shepherd owned by Jay Derek, is credited with capturing Tony, an Australian shepherd mix that was lost in Hadley Township for 10 days. Max, a German shepherd owned by Jay Derek, is credited with capturing Tony, an Australian shepherd mix that was lost in Hadley Township for 10 days. Derek, Resh said, gave Max a “get him” command, and Max took action, jumping toward Tony, grabbing his collar, rolling him to the ground and holding him there until he was secured.

“Max is like the total hero,” Resh said. “(Witnesses) said it was like it was out of a movie.”

Resh was en route to search for her dog when she got a call that he had been captured. She said she was hesitant to get her hopes up.

“I was thinking, it’s been 10 days. He’s 14 years old. Maybe it’s the wrong dog,” she said.

But she arrived on scene and saw that it was indeed her dog. She put her arms around him, he smelled her, and just leaned into her.

“It was extremely emotional,” she said. “I could feel it in him. He was done fighting.”

Tony, she said, is a very family oriented dog who likes to be in the house. He doesn’t like groups of people, so he was running away from the very people who were trying to help him. He was wearing his collar and identification tags the whole time, but they just couldn’t catch him.

Resh is blown away by the community that came out and searched for a dog that they didn’t know, just to help out. As she was reunited with her pet, there were 25 or so people standing around crying and taking photos.

“There were so many people and so much joy,” she said. “All those people just did this out of the goodness of their heart. They don’t know Tony, they don’t know us, we were just strangers to them.”

They immediately took Tony to the veterinarian to be checked over, and remarkably, he was pretty much fine after his 10-day adventure. He had minor frostbite on his paws, a small cut and a treatable parasite from something bad he had eaten.

“He’s doing great,” said Resh, who said she is being extra cautious and keeping Tony on a leash when she takes him out now.

“It’s just amazing,” she said. “You hear about these things, but until I experienced it, you have no clue how many people (social media) reaches.”

Resh credits all the volunteer searchers, especially Yax and Derek, for all the selfless effort they put into helping to reunite her family with their lost pet.

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