1 dog. 2 states. 3 names. 3 years. This pooch gets around
They call me a wanderer.
The story of how I disappeared for three years and assumed three identities in two states began in the back of a pickup truck.
Those adventures caught up with me Saturday afternoon in a Simonsdale living room. But I'm getting ahead of myself.
If it weren't for Steve and Dana Shaw, I probably wouldn't be here at all. The couple rescued me in 2001, when I was a puppy in a pickup on the way to the pound. They took me into their home in Mecklenburg County, N.C., and named me Cooper, for the dog in the movie "What Lies Beneath."
Dana took me everywhere and life was good. But I couldn't fight the itch. I'm a beagle, and that hunting instinct is inbred. Dropping a dead squirrel onto the front porch is only so satisfying.
So if I didn't jump over the family's fence, I'd dig under it. Typically, I'd take off for two or three days, then wander home. The family had the vet install a microchip that could be traced back to them.
Dana figured an electric fence might slow me down, but I'd bolt right through the thing. In 2005, I kept going. The Shaws looked all over for me. The owner of a pet -sitting business found me. Her name was Patty Berkbile, from nearby Charlotte. She posted signs, but Dana never saw them. Patty took me home and named me Moxy.
In late 2006, her daughter, Shawna Craig, and Shawna's fiance, Anthony LoMonaco, visited. Anthony fell in love with me. The couple brought me back to Western Branch, where they were living.
But when the family moved to Park Manor in Portsmouth, the itch came back. Shawna would watch with wonder as I scaled their backyard neighbor's chain-link fence. Anthony said I was like Houdini and could figure my way out of Alcatraz.
Chasing me around the neighborhood unleashed Anthony's competitive spirit. Shawna worried I'd get hit by a car. I'd fallen back into the old habits: heading off for two or three days, then wandering home.
About three weeks ago, Kari Davenport saw me wandering around her Simonsdale neighborhood, which borders Park Manor. Kari, who likes to rescue dogs, eventually took me home and contacted the Portsmouth Humane Society to see if anyone was missing me.
She named me Ella for my big, elephantlike ears. And she took me to the vet, who scanned me and traced the address in the microchip, the one the Shaws had installed, back to Dana's mother-in-law.
Dana was flabbergasted when Kari called her. After three years of searching, she thought I'd disappeared forever. She and the family immediately planned a trip from South Carolina, where they now live, to come get me.
In the meantime, Kari wondered what I had been up to for three years and how I had made it from North Carolina to Virginia.
She got a call from the Portsmouth Humane Society. She found out Shawna had also contacted the organization, looking for me.
Turns out, Shawna and Kari are old friends from Western Branch High School. And Kari now calls me "Ella Moxy Cooper."
On Saturday morning, Dana, her mother-in-law and her daughters piled into the car for a seven-hour drive to Portsmouth from South Carolina.
Link to full story:http://hamptonroads.com/node/483865