By Darla Shelden
City Sentinel Reporter
According to Statista, as of the fourth quarter of 2015, Facebook had 1.59 billion monthly active users. The social media phenomena has a lot of uses – staying in touch with friends, sharing ideas, even promoting businesses, but this week Facebook was a lifesaver for Homeward Bound Pug Rescue and Adoption of Oklahoma.
Gail Tucker, founder of HBPR received a Facebook message the evening of Tuesday, March 29 at about 8 p.m. It said that Boss, one of her pugs, who was temporarily being fostered, had escaped.
Boss was lost in Oklahoma City. Panicked pug lovers quickly turned to Facebook to get the word out.
When volunteer and Facebook administrator Anita Brenberger saw the message she called Gail, but was unable to reach her. She then sent a text to Gail alerting her of the situation.
After contacting Tucker, who was totally devastated upon hearing the news, another Facebook administrator, Lee Stevens, president of Harlee’s Angels Animal Rescue in Topeka, KS, was informed of the pug’s disappearance.
Jumping into action, at 9 p.m. Stevens posted an urgent message on the HBPR Facebook page. It said, “REWARD OFFERED…..OKC supporters and volunteers….WE HAVE AN EMERGENCY! BOSS ESCAPED FROM TEMP FOSTER HOME ….he is afraid of everything. We need bodies on the streets NOW!”
Immediately, the pug community acted like a finely tuned machine and volunteers leapt into action.
Boss had escaped in the vicinity of Britton Road and N. May Avenue. Soon possible sightings were being posted. Flyers were printed and distributed in the area. The Village and Nichols Hills Police were contacted and cars with volunteers proceeded to the site.
As the HBPR Facebook page lit up with numerous threads and hundreds of posts, many of the nearly 9,000 supporters were swept up in the frantic search for the lost Boss.
Adding to the concern was the forecast of possible storms across the state as thunderclouds were building overhead. Fortunately, the weather cleared and the hunt continued to expand throughout the evening.
On Thursday morning at 9 a.m. an important lead was posted.
“This morning we got a notice that someone had spotted Boss in the area of Hefner and N. Penn,” Tucker said. “I brushed my teeth, threw on some clothes and ran out the door. Bethanie Bird did the same and Kerri Smith was right behind us, others were also on the way.
“We searched the area and followed up on several other leads, all putting Boss within a one mile radius of this morning’s sighting,” Gail recalled.
Meanwhile, Stevens had another idea and contacted Shirley Scott in Oregon.
“After trying all of the normal methods to find him I suggested we try a pet psychic/communicator – you have to think outside of the box at times,” Stevens said. “I’m not certain why I chose Shirley Scott, but something told me she was the one.”
Tucker recalled, “Shirley told me several things concerning where he might be or where to look and what to look for.”
An animal communicator for over 16 years, Scott said, “It’s energy work and animals send telepathic messages. I get a picture of where they are, or where they have been, if they are on the run and – like in this case – a smell of oil came through very clearly. This little guy was hungry, scared and showed me very clear pictures.”
Checking under brush where Boss might be hiding was another tip.
Beth Courter, another volunteer who was helping to search during her lunch hour, was combing the area and sent a frantic text to Tucker saying she had spotted Boss in a field where they had already looked.
Tucker, Bird and Smith then returned to a nearby Conoco Station, which was next to the field and was also notably close to an oil rig pump.
“He had been seen running in the field but got spooked and took off, but we knew he was still there,” Tucker said. “I started looking in the bushes and there was a little clearing under some trees.”
Then suddenly, after two days of searching, at approximately 11:30 a.m., the break they had all been hoping for finally came.
“I got down on my knees and saw Boss lying there hiding. Beth had bought some stinky dog food so I opened it and softly spoke his name. He peeked out and came right to me. What a joyous reunion for all of us!” she said.
At around 12:30 p.m. the eagerly anticipated Facebook post was made that said, “WE HAVE BOSS!”
The cheerful and relieved comments of support poured in.
“I am always amazed at how pug people can come together for one little pug,” Tucker exclaimed. “I can’t thank enough those who came out and searched, passed out flyers, spoke to people, took time off lunch hours and after work to keep looking.”
As pug owners all know, once you’ve been bitten by the pug bug, you are addicted for life.
And as Matt Bellassai, writer for BuzzFeed once said about the breed, “They are basically the most magical and majestic creatures on this earth.”
The entire account of what happened was posted later that afternoon by Tucker.
“Finding Boss was truly a team effort,” Tucker wrote. ” Thank you Sherri Henderson, Lee Stevens, Bethanie Bird, Anita Brenberger, Kathe Schofield, Aminda Ongie, Trisha Clark, Kerri Smith and a host of others for not giving up on our boy and continuing to search, lending support and offering up prayers.”
Gail gave another special shout out on Facebook. “Thank you Cleo for trying to foster Boss. He literally broke through a barrier on a dog door, knocked down two fence boards and escaped through no fault of hers.
“And a special thanks to our new friend and Pet Physic Shirley Scott for giving us direction and guiding us and being so kind and caring. By the way, everything Shirley told us was right on the money! This is indeed what rescue and teamwork is all about,” Tucker said.
It was a happy ending to a scary story, and it really helps when you love your Boss.
Since its founding in 2003, HBPR has placed nearly 3000 pugs into responsible, loving homes.