Family, dog reunited following week-long ordeal


LEE — The Waterman Family has been reunited with its 4-year-old labradoodle, Tia. The dog is a beloved pet — especially by 13-year-old twins Andrew and William — and has been a constant companion to Andrew, who has cerebral palsy.

Tia went missing Saturday, Sept. 5, after a series of fireworks scared her and sent her racing from the family’s backyard on Maple Drive.

Shelley said Tia was found on Saturday, Sept. 12, on Tuscan Way, approximately two miles from the family’s home. Each day while Tia was missing, members of the family would go out looking for any sign of their missing canine family member.

Shelley, following a tip, even spent a night sleeping in her car near a site where Tia was reportedly seen.

When they found the labradoodle, Tia was very skinny, dehydrated, and all four paws were worn raw, Shelley said.

The dog’s wounds were treated and bandaged, and she has been recovering well since being found. Shelley added the family is grateful for the help and support it has received from the community in helping to track down the missing pet. According to the The Missing
Animal Response Network, which operates a website to help people find pets that have gone missing, “blind panic” from sudden, loud noises is a common cause of dogs running away, even if they have not exhibited the behavior previously. Dogs that have fled in a blind panic, the organization says, are among the most difficult to find “since they will travel far, travel fast, and avoid human contact, even with their own family members” to get away from the situation.

The Missing Animal Response Network says that there are six major factors that influence the distances that a lost dog will travel: Temperament, Circumstances, Weather, Terrain, Appearance and Population Density.

A dog that bolts in panic due to fireworks or thunder will take off at a blind run and can run for several miles, the organization adds. For additional information, including tips on finding lost dogs, go online to


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