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Lost pooch found, hungry but alive in Clinton

Chase, an English Setter, is hauled up a ravine in Clinton. The dog had been missing for 10 days before searches located the missing dog at the bottom of a ravine. - Contributed photo
Chase, an English Setter, is hauled up a ravine in Clinton. The dog had been missing for 10 days before searches located the missing dog at the bottom of a ravine.
— image credit: Contributed photo

It was in the afternoon of July 2 when Kay Werner got the call.

Her dog was missing.

The Blaine resident left her English Setter, Chase, at breeder Melissa Newman’s house in Clinton because he was afraid of the fireworks in her hometown.

Newman explained to Werner in the tough telephone call that Chase had escaped through the fence and run away.

Werner felt shock run through her body. Being a dog lover, it was hard to imagine 13-year-old Chase lost and alone.

“My heart dropped into my stomach,” Werner said. “I figured he would show up, but when he didn’t, I began to worry.”

Newman had housed Chase the previous three years, due to the loud fireworks in Blaine. She has a large yard that is entirely fenced off, with no spots for escape. Werner felt secure leaving her dog there, and still continues to do so.

“She could not have done anything different,” Werner said.

The next day Werner made the trip to Newman’s house. They scoured the area around the home because someone had seen Chase nearby. They searched using 4-wheelers, cars, and on horseback. There was no luck finding the missing pooch.

They didn’t give up.

Family and friends put posters at various businesses, placed ads in seven papers, and created three “lost dog” Facebook pages.

Nothing.

The next day Werner returned home because she had to attend to her small business. Newman as well as countless friends, family, and neighbors continued the search for Chase.

Accompanied by her grandson, Werner returned to Newman’s home July 9. They tromped through every inch of the area that Chase could have run to. She came to the conclusion that her dog was either dead, injured, or gotten his collar caught on something. With no more land to cover, she returned home with a feeling of despair.

“That’s when it hit me, that I was deserting him [Chase] to die alone,” Werner said.

Ten days after Chase disappeared, Newman received a 6:30 a.m. call from her neighbor, Nanette Backus.

Backus had heard a bark and thought that it might be Chase, since none of the neighbors had large dogs.

Newman, accompanied by Micah Parrick and Hunter Newman, rushed down to the Backus’ house and searched the area.

With no luck, they returned to Backus’ house where they prayed, which Werner believes pointed them in the right direction.

There hadn’t been barking for hours.

Suddenly 300 yards away, they saw what looked like a small white rock lying in a ravine. Further examination revealed a weak and hungry English Setter.

Newman’s son rappelled by rope, cut through shrubs and foliage with a machete, and carried Chase back to the rope. He tied the rope around himself and held onto Chase as he was brought back up to the top.

Chase was finally safe.

When Werner received the call about Chase’s rescue, she couldn’t believe it. She hurried back to Newman’s house to retrieve her beloved pet. A traumatized and 10-pounds-lighter dog greeted her.

“He was nothing but bones,” Werner said.

Chase sat in the seat behind Werner while she drove home, so she could comfort and pet him. When they arrived home, she slept with him on the floor so he wouldn’t be afraid.

More than a month has gone by, and Chase is finally starting to look like himself. He has gained back most of the weight and is finally starting to have more energy.

Things have gone back to normal and Werner is grateful to have him back.

“It’s wonderful,” Werner said. “He sleeps all the time. You can tell he’s just really happy to be back here.”

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