BRYAN, TX — While Independence Day is a fun time for many Americans, it’s one of the most terrifying times for dogs and cats.
Charlie, an eight-year-old dachshund living with his family in Bryan, went missing Saturday night, when he was driven out of his backyard by fireworks. Charlie’s family, the Jeters, live near the east side of Texas State Highway 6, between William J.B. Parkway and Martin Luther King Jr. Street. For two days, owner Candace Jeter has been searching nonstop.
"I’ve contacted all the local vets from here to Boonville, even Villa Maria Road, just to see if anyone’s turned him in," she said. "If you see a red dachshund named Charlie, please contact me. I’ve done Reddit, Twitter, Facebook, etc. I called the Texas A&M vet school, and actually talked to the school and the emergency clinic.”
Charlie suffers from pain in his back and joints and needs medication to help him function.
Jeter said that normally, if Charlie were ever to get loose, she wouldn’t worry. But, the fear he felt when he dug out of his yard on Saturday has seemingly kept him running scared.
"I, unfortunately, do not have him chipped, because I was like, 'no, he’s always near me,'" Jeter explained. "And if he’s ever gotten out, he’s [come] back by the front door.”
There are many dogs and cats currently in the same predicament as Charlie. Animal rescue groups and nonprofits note that the firework-filled summer holiday is one of the worst times of year for pet owners and shelters.
"I knew a dog once who got out on New Year’s Eve, in a house that was locked," recalled Marilyn Litt, director of nonprofit Lost Dogs of Texas. "He broke through the door... So these dogs are energized, they’re creative, they may be climbing a fence.”
Area rescue groups such as Urgent Animals of Hearne have already reported an influx of displaced animals coming into their care over the weekend. Animal advocate and nonprofit president Judy Leunes shared that she’s recently been inundated with calls from distressed owners missing their animals. Leunes believes there could be more pet owners who haven’t spoken out publicly yet.
"I’m worried that some people are going to be ashamed, thinking ‘mine got out, and I don’t know how,’" Leunes said. "No! The number one thing in this community is to reunite pets.”
For both animal owners and those people who find displaced animals, there are many avenues one can take to see an animal is reunited, whether it be working with local shelters, sharing posts on the website Nextdoor or Facebook, or posting physical signs around neighborhoods.
Marilyn Litt suggested owners of lost pets leave out items near their home with the family’s scent, such as dirty laundry. She also noted that stray dogs should not be chased after, but lured in with a calm yet aloof demeanor.
Candace Jeter said she hasn't be able to fully focus on her work or her own needs while looking for Charlie, whom she said is like her child.
“I have that in my heart, and I’m like – this is my pup," she said. "And it hurts.”
For anyone who spots Charlie the dog, the Jeter family requests that they contact them immediately by calling 281-221-5402.
For tips on what to do when missing a pet, or to report a lost dog, Litt advised visiting her nonprofit's website here, which can assist owners in creating missing pet notices.
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