Six weeks ago, Tim Daly and his pooch Rosie hopped on the ferry from Grantsboro to Morehead City.
Not an unfamiliar ride, as Daly is a Morehead City business owner and Rosie is often by his side.
But May 4 was a little different. Daly was taking part in a charity fishing tournament, so Rosie was left safe and sound with a friend, near 70 West Marina.
But Rosie, a 10-year-old cattle dog-blue heeler, didn't want to wait. She took off.
Weeks and weeks of flyers, Facebook posts, foot searches and a google tracking map later, Daly and Rosie were still not reunited.
But June 16, in Newport, the happy ending happened. Rosie was a little worse for wear but is now doing fine.
Read the full story below from the people who took part and check out the related link for the Crystal Coast Lost and Found Facebook page.
MOREHEAD CITY LOST PET TALE WITH A HAPPY ENDING
Courtesy Tim Daly and Tom Kies
Too often a story about a lost family pet has an unhappy ending. But for a dog called Rosie, the stubborn tenacity of her owner and the effort of an entire community turned what could have been a tragedy into a tail waggin’ tale that made everyone smile.
Rosie’s owner, Tim Daly who owns and operates Fish Stixx Custom Outriggers and Carolina Custom Towers, takes the ferry every day from Grantsboro to Morehead City. On May 4th, Mr. Daly and Rosie, a 10 year old cattle dog/blue heeler, rode the ferry over so that Mr. Daly could participate in the Reelin’ For Research fishing tournament. Rosie was left with a friend for safe-keeping near 70 West Marina. Rosie decided not to wait around for her owner and went off in search of him. Rosie was lost in an unfamiliar part of town.
A distraught Mr. Daly spent days searching for his friend. He enlisted all of his friends and they tirelessly beat the bushes and posted flyers. Days went by with no clue of Rosie so Mr. Daly turned to his 700 Facebook friends and asked them to post and share a description and a photo of his missing dog.
People by the dozens shared Rosie’s information and photo. Dog lovers, even strangers from as far away as Wilmington came to help search for Rosie and to distribute flyers. The first Rosie sighting came on May 12th and then again on May 16th when she was spotted in Brandywine Bay.
Unfortunately, when approached, Rosie would run in the other direction. Mr. Daly was warned by missing pet experts that the longer Rosie was in the wild, there was a danger that at some point she would have difficulty even recognizing her best friend, Tim Daly.
With the help of Karen Nethercutt from Pitt County, who Tim met only through his missing dog postings on facebook, a Google map was created where he and all of his friends could keep track of where Rosie was last seen. On May 27th and then again on June 8th, someone saw her in the wooded area near Zeigler’s Stables in Newport.
At this point, Rosie had been in the wild for over 35 days and many of their friends were beginning to despair. Certainly it would be only a matter of time before Rosie starved to death or was hit by a car. Mr. Daly never gave up hope and redoubled his efforts. He rallied searchers, handed out more flyers, created and distributed magnetic signs with Rosie’s likeness to put on cars, placed newspaper ads and, with the help of even more facebook friends, created a special Facebook page devoted to his missing pet.
On the morning of June 14th, Rosie was spotted again in the area of the Food Lion in Newport by a sheriff’s deputy. Mr. Daly said, “I stayed there and looked for her until late Thursday night and then went back at 4:30 am on Friday morning. Once it started getting light, I spotted her out behind the Food Lion. There was Rosie perched on a small sand hill, just looking around.”
Mr. Daly got out of his truck and started to slowly walk towards her. What he had been warned about was true. Rosie didn’t recognize him and ran away. He said, “That crushed me but I didn’t chase after her. I walked around and found where she had been sleeping and hanging out for at least the last couple of weeks.”
Undaunted and unwilling to give up, Mr. Daly set up a humane live animal trap and a trail camera and waited. He checked the trap every hour but he found nothing.
He said, “At this point I thought that I had spooked her and she was on the move again.”
But on the morning of the 16th, Mr. Daly got the surprise of his life when he came back before dawn to check the trap and there was Rosie. Indeed, on the field camera, there was footage of Rosie entering the trap and then a few hours later showed that an opossum had crawled over the trap with Rosie in it.
Mr. Daly said, “She still didn’t recognize me until I put my fingers in the cage and she lost it. We both lost it! At this point it was like someone had flicked a switch in her head.” Footage from the field camera shows a joyful reunion and an emotionally and physically drained Mr. Daly.
Rosie was rushed to the emergency veterinary hospital in Havelock where she was treated by Dr. Hawkes of Arendell Animal Hospital, the veterinarian on duty. Rosie had a scratched cornea on her right eye and had lost weight but has since made a complete recovery.
Mr. Daly was so happy and grateful that he threw a ‘thank you- party’ for all of the many people who had helped him search for and find Rosie, many of whom brought their own dogs to the event. Rosie still accompanies Mr. Daly on the ferry ride from Grantsboro to his place of business in Morehead City. “When I track her on the map, it’s almost like Rosie was trying to find her way to the ferry. She loves to ride. She knows that’s the way home.”
Since Rosie’s adventure, Mr. Daly and dozens of his Facebook friends have joined forces with Crystal Coast Lost & Found, a Facebook page dedicated to sharing lost pet posts. While it doesn’t guarantee every story will have a happy ending, with the increase of awareness and people keeping their eyes open, the odds go up.