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By: Jen J.

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Day 1 Afternoon – I was at a family reunion with my boyfriend, Dan, when Finnegan got away. When I got the call that he got loose, we jumped in the car and it was a loooonnnng three hour drive home. Finnegan was staying with my mom and had just finished a walk when he "put on the breaks". He often has this fear reaction before crossing the threshold of a house. He proceeded to back up right out of his slip collar and this was the start of our long 4 day search. I don't recommend any type of slip or choke collar for rescue dogs that have a lot of fear. He immediately ran from the house and was chased onto the nearby golf course. He avoided the golfers trying to get him at all costs including swimming across several ponds. We didn't even know he could swim. Everyone eventually lost site of him. We proceeded to put up hundreds of fliers around the golf course and surrounding neighborhoods until the wee hours of the morning.

Day 2 Early Morning – At about 5 am we got a call from a local newspaper delivery person who saw Finnegan in the Brooksong neighborhood just west of the golf course. We rushed to the area and spotted him. He popped his head up over a dirt mound and looked as cute as can be. He was muddy from head to toe and looked at us as if to say, " I'm having the time of my life!" I slowly got out of the car and quietly called his name. He just looked at me and started to walk away. As I slowy approached him he started to gain speed. Before I knew it I had chased him through several yards and down a long street. I panicked when he approached Taylor Road which can be quite busy. He just continued to charge on. Every once in a while he'd stop and look at me and think about coming toward me but then change his mind and keep getting further away. He eventually crossed a very busy road and went down a long drive to a power plant. I followed him all the way there, through heavy brush, and lost him in the back of the plant. I had been running for quite a while and really had no idea where I was. Eventually Dan found our car and me and we searched for hours while putting fliers up in the area across Taylor Rd. which is mostly industrial and businesses strewn across large fields. We decided to put his crate and favorite toy in the area in hopes that he'd find it and decide to take a rest .

Day 2 Evening – At about 4:00 p.m the house next to the power plant called to say that they saw Finnegan in the same area we lost him earlier that day. We didn't see him when we first arrived so we talked to the family that spotted him and then proceeded to go search the area behind the plant which is full of fields and industrial buildings.Because Finn has always responded well to other dogs, they let me use their friendly black Lab to search the area. We put tons of signs up but since it was a holiday no one was working. Around 7 pm we went back to the power plant and found him sitting at the end of the long drive, about 100 yards away. He appeared to be eying his crate. Once again I tried to softly call him to me. He'd hesitate and look at me and then trot further away. I stayed there and Dan drove the car behind the plant and tried to see if there was a way for him to get through the heavy brush and marsh on the other side. I watched Finn walk up the drive toward his crate. He would walk a few feet and then run back the other way each time he heard a noise. One of the times that he disappeared I put a hamburger in the back of the crate and tied a string to the door. We hid in our car and hoped that he'd get in his crate to eat the burger and we could shut the door on him. At this point we thought that this would be an easy way to catch him. We were only a day into the search and still very naïve and had no idea how smart this little guy was and how well his survival instincts had kicked in. This went on for hours. He'd stretch his body to the back of the crate to get the food that we left but would never get all the way into the crate. After he'd eat it he would run away for a while and we'd put more food in hoping the next time he'd get all the way into his crate. By this time it was after 10 and the fireworks were going off all around us. Surprisingly they didn't freak him out as much as we thought they would. The lure of the food seemed to overpower his fear of the fireworks. By the end of the night he'd eaten two burgers, a hotdog and about ½ pound of roast beef but we still hadn't been able to catch him. We set up cars with headlights on so we could see the area close to Taylor Rd. At about 1 am we spotted him jetting past a car and back across Taylor Rd. At that point we lost him again. This was the most devastating loss because the next morning would be a normal business day and traffic would be busy. We were scared for him.

Day 3 Morning – We went to the area at daybreak and just searched everywhere we thought he may be. There was no sight of him.

Day 3 Noonish - We received a call that Finnegan was spotted on the other side of the golf course from where we were looking in some woods across Havens Corner Rd. This is a very busy street so we were concerned that he had crossed it. When we arrived we could see him deep in the woods and determined he was trapped on two sides by a wire fence and a large stream. It started raining quite hard at this point and we think he was trying to get out of the rain by going in the woods. We setup a safety fence barricade along Havens Corner Rd. to keep him in on 3 sides and called animal control. The 4th side was heavy brush so we thought he would not try to venture that way. The animal control person arrived and walked into the woods to attempt to capture him with one of those dog neck loop things. Finnegan barked at him twice and then got by him and ran east through the heavy brush where he was lost again. We didn't know if he was still in the area or not until we received a call from someone in the subdivision back across Havens Corner Rd. telling us they spotted him in their yard. We searched but found nothing....

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