BAR HARBOR — Barry Gutradt arrived home Saturday to find a pug sitting on the doorstep of his Knox Road home.
“It had no collar and I had never seen it before,” Gutradt, who also goes by Walter Churchill, wrote in an email to the Islander. “I called the Bar Harbor Police Department to see if anyone had reported the missing dog.” He also took a picture in case the dog ran off, for identification purposes.
The police department identified the pug as belonging to resident Angela Chamberlain, who had reported a missing dog 12 days earlier, on Jan. 22. “She was notified and was over to my house within 15 minutes,” Gutradt wrote. “It was a tearful reunion… BHPD did a great job.”
For Chamberlain and her family, it had been a difficult 12 days looking for the small fawn-colored 9-year-old dog known as Nikki. Chamberlain said she had last seen Nikki at the end of her driveway on Fern Meadow Drive.
In the first few days, she spent many hours looking for the dog with “friends and people I didn’t even know, coming out to help,” she told the Islander. “We mostly walked through the woods behind the house, a couple acres’ radius, and around the road a few times. A lot of people in the neighborhood were looking.”
The wooded area behind the house abuts Knox and Crooked Roads, but not many houses where a dog could take shelter. “It was overwhelming, because it’s a lot of woods,” Chamberlain said.
A friend set up a GoFundMe.com account on Jan. 24, and raised $500 for Chamberlain to offer as a reward for the dog’s safe return. “In the event Nikki does not come home, these funds will be donated to the Hancock County SPCA in her memory,” the fundraising page announced.
Then finally, the call came from the police. A simultaneous call came in from Janet Adler, who saw the dog that morning and contacted Chamberlain directly. Chamberlain rushed to Knox Road to reclaim Nikki.
“She was just sitting on the steps,” Chamberlain said. “I would say she walked [there]. She definitely had been outside. She was very lame, and had a lot of pitch all over her fur and was very thin.”
A vet checkup the next day gave Nikki a clean bill of health. “She was healthy. Not injured or hurt, just tired and hungry,” Chamberlain said.
“Our family is so overwhelmed with the outpouring of concern, love, and help we received when Nikki went missing,” Chamberlain said Tuesday. She thanked Gutradt and Adler for reporting the found dog as soon as it appeared.
“There are so many people who reached out and did something to help in some way, I can’t even begin to thank them all. We are so grateful and so blessed to live in such a wonderful community.”