The 1-year-old St. Bernard that captured the fascination of Twain Harte during her almost two weeks on the run was apprehended on Middle Camp Road and returned to her owner on Wednesday afternoon.
Bob Strobel, of Center Camp Road in Twain Harte, said two weeks in the wild may have been exactly what she needed to recapture her former spirit.
“It's great to have her back,” he said.
Missy was at Strobel’s house for less than 24 hours after being transferred from the Friends of the Animal Community Shelter in Sonora, and slipped through a gate that had been left ajar.
“People were saying to me, you sure you really want her back after all this trouble? I said absolutely because I fell in love with her the minute I saw her and I knew it would work out.”
The dog had been seen several times by residents in the Cedar Ridge, Brentwood Park and Kewin Mill areas since she disappeared. Roaming through the wildland and ditches, Missy ignored their calls.
Candace Wilson, a FOAC contributor who spearheaded the search, said she was amazed that the dog had been able to persist through some of the “worst weather ever.”
“We were all so happy. There were so many people tracking her and following her and this story, it’s just great to have a happy ending and have her home. It was worth every second,” she said.
Freezing snowstorms fell on the Twain Harte area while Missy was on the loose.
But when the snowpack settled, searchers were able to track her.
“We started getting a number of sightings between Middle Camp and South Fork. People kept seeing her but nobody could catch her,” Strobel said.
On Monday, her tracks were seen near Middle Camp Road. Searchers wore snowshoes to follow them, but then they went cold.
On Wednesday, Bernie and Susan Horstkamp offered a solution.
Missy had been seen on their wildlife tracking camera, so they offered their property as a location for a trap to lure her in.
Within five hours of the trap’s installation (set with a pound of cooked ground turkey, Wilson said), Bernie Horstkamp heard barking.
Wilson and Strobel both rushed to the property, and though Missy appeared a bit slimmer, and with a small scratch on her snout, she would finally be heading home.
Strobel speculated that Missy may have dealt with trauma in her early life which prompted her skittish behavior at his home.
The two weeks on the run appeared to reconcile her wild instincts, he said, and her demeanor at home since the capture is a complete reversal from before.
“I brought her home, and she's been like gold. She’s been so good, she's a sweetheart,” he said. “She kind of follows me everywhere, she won’t let me out of her sight. It's unbelievable the difference.”
Strobel said he had taken her to the vet on Thursday and was surprised to learn that she only lost three pounds over the two weeks.
After a shot to clean her intestines today, he added, she was on the fast track to a full and happy recovery in her new home.
“I’ll slowly bring her back up to a daily amount of food,” he said. “She’s settled down by now. In fact, she’s outside sunbathing right now.”