George Decker had his prayers answered on Tuesday.
Little Bitz, his three year old Yorkie mix that’s been missing since Feb.11, was returned to him and his wife, Addie after someone recognized a photo of the dog that appeared with an article in The Press last week.
“We got her. She’s sitting right here in my lap,” George told The Press Tuesday afternoon. Decker, 80, had been inconsolable since the 10 lb. dog slipped away from him after he had opened his car door in the parking lot of Nose to Tail, a groomer at Coy and Navarre Avenue, for a 9:30 a.m. appointment.
The dog, donning a pink wool coat, red collar with a pink leash trailing behind, had dashed across Navarre Avenue by the time Amie Brodie, owner of Nose to Tail, had sprinted down the street to help George retrieve it. But a motorist had picked up the dog and drove away. Crushed, George could hardly contain his pain. He considered Little Bitz, which had helped him recover from a stroke last year, his “baby.” He couldn’t sleep for days, blaming himself for losing his grip on the dog’s leash. He and Addie had filed a report with the Oregon police, checked with the Lucas County Canine Care & Control (formerly known as Lucas County Dog Warden), posted a photo on Facebook’s Toledo Area Lost and Found Pets, and circulated fliers in hopes of finding Little Bitz, but to no avail
After their story appeared in The Press last week, calls came pouring in, said Addie.
|Little Bitz is home!|
“People called me like you wouldn’t believe,” she said. “Someone called and said, `Addie, I don’t have your dog, but we’re praying for you.’ Also among the calls was a man who said “My heart breaks for you.”
“He said he saw a woman in a brown midsized Chevy with two children in the back seat pick the dog up. He was right behind her. He told me he was going to go that way every day to see if he could find the woman.”
A staff member from the Wood County Humane Society also called, said Addie.
“One of the women who works there said she would go in every day to look for our dog,” said Addie. She said `If I can’t find your dog, I will find you another little dog.’”
George said was grateful for the support from the community.
“Everyone wanted to get involved,” he said.
Someone suggested putting an ad in Toledo’s daily newspaper, but Addie said they had already done so before contacting The Press “and we didn’t get one call.”
On Tuesday morning, they got the call they were waiting for.
“A young woman said `I think I have your dog,’” recalled Addie. The woman’s grandmother had read the story in The Press and informed her the dog she had found was George and Addie’s.
“I asked the woman to call Little Bitz by her name to see if she would respond,” Addie said when she got the call.
The woman, according to Addie, said the dog wasn’t paying attention to her.
“I said `Let her hear my voice on the phone,’ and when I called out to her, Little Bitz knocked the phone out of that woman’s hand and was licking the phone,” said Addie.
She and George rushed to Picadilly East Apartments on Pickle Road in Oregon, where the woman lived, to pick up Little Bitz, which was still wearing the pink coat.
“My husband cried his eyes out when he saw the dog,” said Addie. “Little Bitz ran and got into the car with us.”
“I feel a great weight has been lifted off my shoulders,” said George, adding that there’s nothing like “the unconditional love of a dog.”
“It’s the kind of love that everyone craves.”
Without Little Bitz the last couple of weeks, the house felt empty, said Addie.
“It was so quiet. It was so lonesome when she was gone. We had no life in us at all. I felt sick half the time,” said Addie. “Now she’s back. Her dog dish and bone are sitting here. Her toys are scattered around. It feels like home now.”