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The Weather Network
Aug. 23, 2019 | Friday
Editorials and Opinions
Heartbroken but thankful for community's help in search for Jethro
Kim McQuhae's dog Jethro went missing on July 20. (Submitted photo)

SUBMITTED BY KIM MCQUHAE, SPECIAL.

This is a thank you to the citizens of NOTL and beyond.

I live on Larkin Road and on Saturday, July 20, I lost my dog Jethro. 

Some of you know me from the NOTL Farmers’ Market where I sell my jams and jellies and that’s where I had been all morning.

When I came home Jethro was not in his pen and the gate was still closed. Not terribly unusual as he had gotten out before and was always on the deck wagging his tail when I got home. But this time he was not there.

I started searching his usual haunts and my immediate neighbours  informed me they had seen him two hours earlier near their grape rows. Now I was beginning to panic because Jethro never wandered off for long. I walked the neighbourhood, drove around with my boyfriend Jens Gemmrich asking people if they had seen him and – nothing.

And then I posted Jethro’s picture on Facebook, a recent photo of him on my deck with details about his being 15 years old, deaf, partially blind and prone to seizures. Also no collar or tags because he has a skin condition. 

And people of Niagara, you responded. 

The photo was shared about 300 times in the first few hours. People came out in droves to help search for him. There were people on ATVs and dirt bikes – I saw you. People driving by in all sorts of vehicles calling out for Jethro  – I heard you. I even got to meet some of you.

I received hundreds of messages informing me where people were searching: around their homes, their garages, their orchards, their grapes. I got phone calls. People sent me pictures of dogs at shelters, one of which looked so like him it gave me a jolt until I saw that he had been there a couple of weeks. 

So many messages: people wishing me the best, sending prayers and love, people informing me that the wine and bike tours were on the lookout as well, and others telling me the areas they had searched. I had offers of help from all over the region.

People offered to make flyers and organize search parties. Friends from Burlington came down to search because I had to work that night, which was psychologically hard but they let me go early because they knew – so thank you to everyone at Zees Grill because you covered for me even though it was a busy night.

Sunday came and the Facebook post had over 1,200 shares and still going. I now was clinging to the hope that someone had picked him up since it was so hot that day, but in my heart I felt he had to be close by and something had happened  to him.

I searched all day and so did all of you. I saw you on foot, in vehicles, on bikes. I never felt alone in my desperate search because there were so many of you helping. 

Monday morning came and I took the day off work so I could check the humane societies. And then around 7:30 a.m. my neighbour Derek Muste pulled into my yard in his pickup truck and I knew. His dog Moose had found my Jethro dead in their vineyard not 20 feet from where I had searched twice. 

And I was heartbroken.

I relayed the sad news to all of you by posting that he had been found and you all grieved with me.

So much love. 

In the end Jethro apparently knew his time was near and chose to leave on his own terms.

I retraced what I believe to be his last journey: it appears that he went for a walk across the road, waded through my neighbour’s pond and went into the grapes. He found a lovely shaded spot where the vines came down to the ground on both sides of him and he lay down and passed away from natural causes.

He was found in his usual sleeping position in a peaceful, tranquil setting and for that I have some closure. I thank Derek for bringing him home to me in the gentlest way possible. 

Although my story doesn’t  have a happy ending it has shown me how our community came together over my little lost dog. I was blown away by the amazing outpouring of love and effort.

My friends, my neighbours, and new friends and neighbours I didn’t know before braving the impossible heat, two rain storms and ticks. Special mentions to Nancy and Dave Perkins, Laura and Sean Sentineal, and Shireen and Tito Santana, who all went above and beyond. And to my sister Samantha for agonizing from Indiana that she couldn’t help in the search.

To everyone who wouldn’t let me give up hope I appreciate everything you have done for me and for Jethro. So much community  support. I thank each and everyone of you from the bottom of my heart. 

And to Jethro, RIP my little buddy. I hope wherever you are is a wonderful place where you are as loved as you were here. Miss you lots.

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