When a woman spotted a dog running along I-84 in Middletown, New York, on January 19, 2022, she called Pets Alive Animal Sanctuary for help. Nicole Asher of New Jersey-based Buddha Dog Rescue & Recovery had also received a call about a loose dog that month.
The dog spotted in both New Jersey and New York states was, in fact, one and the same: Teddy. Officials estimated this skinny, frightened Shepherd mix had been running along the highway for at least two weeks.
Tracking Down Teddy
New York State Troopers attempted to catch Teddy, but he was too quick. Eventually, Asher discovered fresh tracks on January 21, and followed them to a farm where Teddy was hiding out.
The farm’s owner said Teddy had been hiding there for two days, but the anxious pup wouldn’t let anyone approach. Asher was eventually able to lure him into a trap with some rotisserie chicken and hot dogs.
Finally recovered, Teddy was taken to the Catskill Animal Hospital for assessment. They also scanned him for a microchip and were shocked to learn that he had one. This dog wasn’t dumped; someone was missing him.
Reunited After 7 Long Months
Since the chip was registered, Asher was able to contact Teddy’s family, who live in Washington D.C. She said:
“We were able to locate the owner and she was beside herself. She was crying and screaming, she couldn’t believe it was true … they never thought he would be able to survive, so when the call came in, she was in an absolute state of shock.”
Teddy reunited with his parents seven whole months after he went missing, thanks to the help of Buddha Dog Rescue, Pets Alive, and the New York State Troopers. Shocked and overjoyed to see their dog again, Teddy’s parents cried and thanked his rescuers.
Becky Tegze, Executive Director of Pets Alive, credits Teddy’s eventual reunion with his family to his up-to-date microchip.
“Sometimes we get very lucky that there are microchips, and we are able to find the owner. A lot of times we’re not … Teddy traveled over 80 miles. If he was not microchipped, we would not have had a reunion like there was, because no one would have known to look [for] a family in Washington, D.C. when you’re in New York.”
How A California Rescue Dog Ended Up In New York
Teddy’s family initially saved him from a high-kill shelter in California. They saw his photo on social media in May of 2021 and his story broke their hearts.
Teddy’s previous owner surrendered him after he “was brutally attacked by other dogs,” the dog’s new adopters said.
“He had severe bite wounds on both shoulders and had surgery on both, followed by a very difficult recovery.”
After being placed on the adoption list, no one expressed any interest in Teddy. The dog’s fearful behavior made him shy and resistant to new people and other dogs.
“He was traumatized by his experience and fearful of his surroundings and people/dogs. He refused to interact with handlers or shelter staff and just sat in the corner shaking in fear.”
So, Salvatore Della Monica flew from their D.C. home to Los Angeles to pick Teddy up. Then, less than a month later in June, the dog escaped through a hole in the fence during a family vacation in Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania.
Somehow, from there, Teddy would make it to New York, where the rest is history. But in between were seven brutal months outdoors and alone.
Teddy Endured A Lot Over 7 Months
You can certainly say this about Teddy: he’s a survivor. As his relieved family wrote:
“Our miracle boy Teddy is around 4 years old (we think) but he’s gone through more than most dogs and even humans go through in a lifetime.”
Teddy’s family set up a GoFundMe page for help covering his extensive medical costs. After his time on his own, the pup returned with some brutal injuries and conditions, including Lyme disease and bullet wounds.
“We don’t know everything he’s gone through but can tell from his injuries that it was a lot. He was shot and has bullet fragments in his left hind limb. He has severe bilateral hip dysplasia and will most likely need a hip replacement and months of therapy.”