By BOB PALMER
Jimplecute News Editor
With the explosion of the first fireworks of the Jefferson Salutes America celebration Thursday night, Buddy, a pit bull mix rescue dog, shot out the door like one of the rockets.
“We knew the fireworks might be scary for him, so we stayed home with him,” Angie Hudson revealed Tuesday.“ (Buddy) jumped up and hit the doggie door,” Wes Jones explained how the 66-pound dog got free.
“I thought I had Buddy-proofed the courtyard, but he jumped the gate.” Hudson owns Made in The Shade on Henderson Street.
“There was nothing we could do,” Hudson agreed. Four anxious days followed for Hudson and Jones as Jefferson quietly came together behind them in the effort to find Buddy.
The reward for finding the local dog rescued from the Dixie Humane Society in December by Angie Hudson, owner of Made in the Shade, a popular boutique shop in downtown Jefferson, more than doubled in three hours.
The reward for the lost canine started at $200 but grew to $500 within three hours as word spread on Facebook. An hour and a half later, the reward was $575 because of continued donations from the community.
Finally, it swelled to $1,100. Facebook posts alerting the community to Buddy’s missing status were shared over a 1,000 times and reached as far away as Big Springs and Fort Worth.
“Hopefully, the money will motivate someone, if they have him,” Hudson said in a Facebook post announcing the increased reward. Buddy was traumatized and malnourished when rescued him from filthy conditions at the Dixie Humane Society in December.
According to Jones, the Marshall Animal Hospital believed Buddy, who could not walk or eat, should be euthanized. Steve and Christie Woodson fostered Buddy until he was healthy enough for a forever home.
Since then, Buddy has recovered with Hudson’s care and has become a bit of a celebrity around Made in the Shade. “Buddy is a sweet and timid boy who is adored by everyone. His family is heartbroken. It isn’t uncommon for dogs to be missing for several days and it is surprising how far they are capable of traveling. He does have a collar with his owner’s name and phone number embroidered on it,” Woodson continued in her post.
Finally, at about 1 a.m. Tuesday, Buddy was spotted by Kenyetta Gray, Geryn Peterson and Ajah McCoy at their house on Taylor Street. “At first, we weren’t sure that it was Buddy,” Kenyetta said. The girls got closer attempting to match the Facebook photo on their smartphone with the dog in their yard.
About the time they decided that it was Buddy, he ran off. Their father, Bobby McCoy joined the chase. “We found him on the steps of the House of the Seasons,” Ajah said. They called Hudson and Jones sped over in the golf cart.
“As soon as I called him, Buddy came to me,” Jones said. A banquet awaited Buddy on his arrival at home after four days of roaming.“ He had t-bone steak bones, dry dog food, canned dog food and a bowl of milk,” Jones said.
“Then he flopped on the bed and went to sleep.” Kenyetta, Geryn and Ajah were silent on their plans for the $1,100 reward other than they would share it, including with their father. Hudson harbors no ill feelings toward the fireworks display that triggered Buddy’s panic attack, but does have plans for next July 4.
“Next year the doggie door will be closed,” Hudson said. Jones also plans to invest in a GPS tracking collar. He described them as very affordable and a dog could be located by an owner’s smart phone or computer.
In addition to getting Buddy back, Hudson and Jones found another aspect of the experience rewarding. “There was a lot of unity in Jefferson,” Jones said. “As much bad publicity and division as we have had here, it was good to see people pull together.”
“We needed that,” Hudson concluded.
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