Dogs on leashes are no stranger to the streets of Charlotte, North Carolina, but one resident chocolate labrador caught the attention of a local driver after her antics on Friday, March 1, 2019. Jason Gasparik was compelled to pull over after seeing the 70-pound (approx. 32-kilogram) pup running amok on the road.
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“Someone was running around in the grass median,” Gasparik told The Dodo. “I then noticed the dog [Roxy] running in circles in the road, confused and scared.” Gasparik, himself a huge dog lover, jumped out of his car to help before realizing the extent of the crisis: the original dog catcher was not even the dog’s owner. This pup was well and truly lost.
A police officer and another local joined in the now rather farcical dog chase, and Roxy grew increasingly confused. Gasparik decided to try a gentler approach. “I decided to run around the parking lot nearby,” he shared, “and after some laps around, she finally got tired, lay down and I was able to grab her neck scruff.”
This dude literally standing on the corner of Ballantyne Commons and Rea Road today trying to find a lost dog’s owner. Good people do exist 🙌👏
(Owner still not found). pic.twitter.com/W81dpQD47n
— Lyndsay Tapases ☔ (@LyndsayWBTV) March 3, 2019
Gasparik, his evening plans sidelined, took Roxy to a 24-hour vet clinic, where her microchip was identified. It wasn’t registered to an owner. Unwilling to leave the lost pup stranded, Gasparik took Roxy home.
“My parents always had dogs when I was growing up,” he told The Epoch Times, explaining his overwhelming instinct to step up and help the lost dog. “I’ve had dogs of my own as well.” Gasparik posted on both Facebook and PawBoost, a website dedicated to lost and found animals, but to no immediate avail.
It was time to get creative. Gasparik hit the streets with a homemade sign.
“I made my sign with an old moving box and a tiki torch pole and decided to go to the corner [where I found Roxy],” he said. “I felt like a complete fool,” he admitted, but Gasparik braved the crowds to do what he felt was best for Roxy. And to his delight, the crowds responded brilliantly. Gasparik smiled and waved to supportive passersby, and within hours was something of a local celebrity. He asked everybody he encountered to aid the search by posting their own messages on social media.
One woman was particularly helpful. “She said she could help trace the chip even though it wasn’t registered,” Gasparik remembered. “One of the funniest messages,” he continued, “was a woman who said ‘I will foster you both.'” Man, dog, and sign, were certainly grabbing a wealth of attention!
***UPDATE*** REUNITED!! this pet is home safe & sound :)"Thank you to everyone for all of the help! What an amazing…
However, by Sunday, the search still hadn’t turned up Roxy’s owner. Gasparik, with cellphone and homemade sign in tow, hit the streets once again. And this time, he was in luck.
“At 12:30 … I got a message on Nextdoor from a lady saying she found the owner of Roxy driving around several miles away trying to find her!” Gasparik recalled. He was connected with Ed, Roxy’s owner, and a meetup was quickly scheduled.
“As soon as we got near Ed’s truck, Ed shouted ‘Roxy Girl,’ and she was immediately wagging her tail and recognized Ed,” Gasparik said. Roxy was delighted to be back where she belonged. Having bonded with the dog while she was in his care, Gasparik was careful to check Ed’s paperwork: it all matched up.
Keen to ensure that the streets of Charlotte stay clear of sign-wielding manhunts in future, Gasparik has some friendly advice for dog owners everywhere: “If your pet is microchipped,” he told The Epoch Times, “please make sure the chip is registered. If the chip is registered, please be sure the registration information is up to date.”
“One in three pets will go missing each year,” he added. “By spreading this message, we should be able to help get more pets safely and quickly returned to their loving families.”
Here’s to Jason Gasparik, the kindhearted efforts that reunited a lost dog with her loving owner, and the undeniable efficacy of a homemade sign on a tiki torch pole!
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