After 12 days, a Michigan woman was finally reunited with her missing dog in Clinton County near the site of a rollover crash where both her dogs vanished.
On their way home on Dec. 26 after visiting family in New York, Jessica Alvarez, 33, and her boyfriend Gary Vetter, 38, were in a rollover crash when Vetter swerved to avoid hitting a deer on Interstate 80 near exit 192/Loganton at 5:30 a.m. The couple’s two dogs, Jordy, a 4-year-old white bulldog, and Nash, a 10-month-old rottweiler/Doberman mix, got spooked and ran away.
Jordy was found in the Loganton area the day after the crash, but Nash remained missing — though he was spotted periodically running through the area — until Monday afternoon, when Alvarez was able to catch him at a makeshift camp she set up in a Loganton backyard.
A break in the search
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Nash had been spotted on the property Sunday, after he found a Christmas ham thrown out the night before, ate it and fell asleep on the back porch. The property owners called Alvarez and she began a stake-out, which lasted all day Sunday and most of Monday, where she alternated between cooking meat on a portable camp grill and resting inside from the cold.
Finally, on Monday afternoon, she spotted him on the cameras they had put up, walking around the camp.
“Once he noticed somebody was coming for him, he looked at me and I just dropped to the ground,” she said.
She spent the next hour singing and talking to him, trying to get him to come closer. “He was barking at me ... his tail was wagging. He ran back over to the grill to eat sausage ... he would go over and eat, and I would get a little bit closer,” she said.
Finally, there was a break. “He got close enough where I could touch him and I just reached out and grabbed his collar,” she said.
Alvarez was able to get Nash into her car, where she drove him to the hotel she was staying at in Lock Haven. He was covered in ticks, had lost weight and was bleeding on his paws, which were rubbed raw from running through the woods.
Now that she has both Nash and Jordy and is back in Michigan, Alvarez said life is starting to catch up with her, but she wants to savor their homecoming.
“I have my family in front of me, and I just keep staring at (Nash) and touching him,” she said.
Helped by strangers across Clinton County
Over her nearly two-week stay in Lock Haven, Alvarez said, the kindness of local people really stood out.
Terri Rossman, of Howard, found Alvarez at a Valero gas station in Clinton County the day after the dogs went missing and offered to help her and Vetter find a safer road on which to park to look for Jordy.
“She took us there, and I found Jordy an hour later,” said Alvarez.
Rossman helped Alvarez and Vetter for her entire Christmas holiday, helping them look for the dogs and offering moral support. “I couldn’t have done any of it without her,” said Alvarez.
And there were others. The hotel management that comped five nights of her stay in Lock Haven. The people who walked into the hotel and paid cash for her stay.
The people, like Pam Blesh, of Lock Haven, who dropped off food, wine, coffee and dog treats and took Alvarez out for meals and reminded her to take care of herself. The bartender on New Year’s Day at the Main Street Grill who bought her a drink. The woman who dropped off raw meat and propane for Alvarez’s camp. The people who donated $500 anonymously to her GoFundMe campaign and people who simply gave her cash to buy a meal or gas.
“I just can’t believe that I have family like that in Lock Haven and Loganton and I didn’t know it existed until two weeks ago,” she said.
Alvarez was recently laid off, she said, because the company she worked for shut down. Now that she’s back in Michigan, caring for her dogs, she is trying to find a way to pay it forward to all the people who helped her.
“Everyone deserves to know (how the dogs are), they really do, they rallied behind us,” she said.
She set up a Facebook page called Adventures of Jordy and Nash to send out updates and thank you notes to all who pitched in and followed the story.
And in the spring, she is planning to host a barbecue at Holiday Pines campground in Loganton to benefit Bellabon’s Pet Recovery Services in Muncy and Where’s Fido in Loganton, both of which she said helped tremendously in the search for Nash and Jordy, and celebrate everyone who helped in the search.