Long road home: Owners hold out hope for missing pets
In the 1963 Disney film, "The Incredible Journey," two dogs and a cat make their way across busy highways, rough terrain and rural areas thick with trees to reunite with their human family 200 miles away.
The family had almost given up hope of seeing their pets again when the furry trio wandered down the driveway safe and sound.
Similarly, at least three local families are hoping for the same outcome in their personal cases of pets gone missing, even though the two canines and a cat disappeared months ago.
Andy, a Welsh corgi, bolted from a Westport backyard on New Year's Eve, fearful of a fireworks display.
Ozzy, a Brussels griffon, originally from Westport, was in his new Fairfield backyard seven days later when his owner, Laurie Greenblatt, heard screeching sounds and ran out to see that only one of her dogs was still there.
And signs for the missing Max, a black-and-white male cat, started showing up in recent weeks in the Fairfield County Hunt Club area of Westport, near the Fairfield border. All three owners have plastered utility poles with posters emblazoned with their pet's face and contact information in case someone spots them.
More InformationPET CAUSES Following are the telephone numbers to contact the owners still searching for long-lost pets in Fairfield and Westport: For Andy the Welsh Corgi: 781-264-5243; for Ozzy the Brussels Griffon: 203-247-1747, and for Max the cat: 203-557-3683.
Greenblatt and Jordina Ghiggeri, Andy's owner, said numerous calls have poured in, some from people who claim to have seen their dogs over the intervening months. Some are well-wishers offering support and encouraging words, but a few are mean-spirited people leaving critical and hurtful comments.
"It brings out all types, but most people want to help, especially animal lovers," Greenblatt said. "I get calls all the time about people finding dogs, but I go and it's not my dog." She said the loss of her pet has led her to many other missing dogs and helped her reunite three families with their missing pets.
"It's heartbreaking. To have a dog disappear and not know what happened to them is just devastating," Greenblatt said. "You're constantly looking, thinking you're going to see him."
Ozzy was a gift from Greenblatt's husband for their 25th wedding anniversary. She had wanted a Brussels griffon dog since seeing the movie "As Good as it Gets," starring Jack Nicholson and Greg Kinnear, whose character had a Brussels griffon. Ozzy was 5 when he disappeared from the backyard of the home where the Greenblatts had just moved two months earlier, after living in Westport for 25 years.
Although there was an electric fence around the property, Ozzy apparently went through it. Greenblatt is unsure whether he was startled by something that caused him to run through the invisible barrier or if he was carried off by a predator. But thorough searches revealed no blood, fur or a carcass, she said.
"I don't know if he's still out there or not. I hope he is. I pray he is," she said.
Greenblatt has posted more than 1,000 flyers throughout the region, rivaled only by Ghiggeri, who was visiting friends in Westport for New Year's when Andy disappeared. She stayed in town for more than a month, taking a leave from her job and calling in a pet detective and search dog from out of state. Eventually, she returned to her home in Plymouth, Mass., but she has not given up the effort to find Andy, who she'd had for 11 years.
"Dogs have been found years after they've gone missing. We're persistent for a reason," said Ghiggeri, who is designing a new poster with different colors to call attention to the search. Like Greenblatt, Ghiggeri's search for her dog has also led to finding other missing dogs. She and her team found a collie-sheltie mix that had been missing for 18 months. The dog went to a pet rescue facility where she was rehabilitated from her life in the wild to domestication, and she has since been adopted by a family.
Ghiggeri said she still gets numerous calls. "All of the sightings are in the same region, but he doesn't seem to follow a particular pattern. The trouble is trying to anticipate where he's going next," she said.
Some people have gone the extra mile, allowing Ghiggeri to put up humane traps on their properties.
Greenblatt has received support, as well, even from complete strangers. "There's a lot of nice people out there," she said.
Following are the telephone numbers to contact the owners still searching for long-lost pets in Fairfield and Westport: For Andy the Welsh Corgi: 781-264-5243; for Ozzy the Brussels Griffon: 203-247-1747, and for Max the cat: 203-557-3683.