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happyworld - Missing Dog Hears His Owner’s Voice For First Time In Two Years

    Fox 25 Boston
    Bill Ballato had spent two years searching for his lost dog, Bosco, enlisting friends and strangers alike to help him in his quest. But he didn’t know if, when he found him, the dog would even recognize him. That question was put to the test when Bosco’s rescuer called Bill on the phone, inciting an incredible reaction from the lost pup.

    Penny Silva/The Dodo
    Bill and Bosco had lived in Westerley, Rhode Island for many years. Bosco, a nine-year-old Beagle mix, was well known around the neighborhood just like his owner. But one day in January 2014, Bosco vanished. Neighbors saw how devastated Bill was and wanted to help, but the dog was nowhere to be seen.

    YouTube/Bart Ehleen
    Bosco had been hanging out in the yard, and somehow managed to wrest free from his collar and escape through the fence. Bill asked his friends for help, and they set out to canvas the neighborhood and search for Bosco. Bill plastered every pole with “missing dog” posters and talked to police and local animal shelters. Time passed, and Bosco was still not found.

    YouTube/Bart Ehleen
    Months later, Bill was forced to move to Lafayette, Colorado. Being so far away almost made him lose all hope of ever finding Bosco, but his friends back home continued to keep an eye out for the lost dog. Eventually, there were some sightings in the area, but no one had been able to pick him up. Knowing Bosco was out there on the streets made Bill anxious, especially as winter was approaching.

    Portsmouth Press
    The next winter, Rhode Island was hit by three massive snowstorms, one after the other. Bill fretted that Bosco would not be able to survive them. “There were nights, horrible nights that I wondered, especially after big storms,” he told Fox 31. “But something told me that he’d make it.” Two years had passed since Bosco’s disappearance when Bill received a serendipitous message.

    Fox 25 Boston
    Bill was contacted on Facebook by a Rhode Island cop, who told him he had seen Bosco walking around in a nearby parking lot. Happy to know his dog was still alive, Bill sensed this was his chance to finally find him. But he couldn’t go all the way to Rhode Island to look for him. So he decided to get help from an expert.

    Fox 25 Boston
    Sheila Graham works at the Department of Homeland Security, and is a pet detective on her spare time. When Bill contacted her and told her about Bosco, she agreed to help. She had lots of experience retrieving lost dogs, so she knew what to do. The first thing she did was set up cameras around the area where he was last seen. Then, she’d have to bait him.

    Fox 25 Boston
    Sheila used tasty treats like cheeseburgers, French fries, and steaks to lure Bosco into a metal trap. Bosco was street-savvy, but Sheila knew she could outwit him. “Bosco played a good game of chess,” she said. “But I love chess, so it’s just a matter of narrowing down his playing field.” Finally, in March of 2016, Bosco was safely in Sheila’s hands. It was time to break the news to Bill.

    Fox 25 Boston
    As Sheila carried Bosco back to her car, she thought excitedly of Bill’s reaction when he found out the good news. She decided to call him as soon as she got home. She picked up the phone, dialed his number, and waited for him to answer. But as soon as Bill’s voice was heard on the receiver, Sheila was suddenly interrupted.

    Fox 25 Boston
    Upon hearing his owner’s voice on Sheila’s phone, Bosco started howling. Bill hadn’t expected Sheila to find him so soon, but he instantly recognized his dog’s call. “He doesn’t have a bark or howl or growl. It’s kind of all three together. You hear it and it stands you up straight,” he told The Dodo. But they were still 2,000 miles apart.

    YouTube/Bart Ehleen
    Bill didn’t know how he was going to get Bosco all the way to Colorado. That’s when his old friends stepped in, setting up a crowdfunding campaign to help Sheila deliver Bosco to his rightful owner. The whole community chipped in – neighbors, animal lovers, even strangers. “People that I haven’t heard from in 30 years bellied up money,” said Bob Arnold, Bill’s childhood friend. A month later, Bosco was ready to go home.

    YouTube/Bart Ehleen
    Sheila recruited two friends to help her drive the 36-hour trek from Rhode Island to Colorado with Bosco. Finally, in April of 2016, they arrived at Bill’s home. Bill couldn’t wait to hold Bosco in his arms again, but was unsure of what the dog’s reaction would be. Indeed, he was wary at first.

    YouTube/Bart Ehleen
    “The first couple of minutes, with everyone around and the cameras, he was like, ‘OK, who the hell is this guy?’” said Bill of the reunion. But then he remembered the nickname he used to call Bosco: “dude.” As soon as he said the word, the dog perked up – he knew he was home. Bill couldn’t believe Bosco had made it in the streets for two years, but the dog was sturdier than he seemed.

    YouTube/Bart Ehleen
    Bill took Bosco to the vet for a thorough examination, and was surprised to find he was in relatively good health. A small benign tumor was found on his back, but that could be removed soon. And he had even put on a little bit of weight, suggesting he had become a good scavenger. Bill couldn’t wait to spend the next few days catching up with his beloved dog.

    YouTube/Bart Ehleen
    “I’m going to be having some good face time with him,” Bill said in an interview. Meanwhile, Sheila was happy to witness the fruits of her labor. “My payday comes seeing the lost pet back home with their family,” she told The Dodo. All of us animal lovers are just glad people like her exist.

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