Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Local News

March 17, 2013

Lost dog still not found

Facebook post leads to failed reunion with missing canine

— A Georgia man who drove to Kokomo Saturday for what was meant to be joyful reunion with his long-lost golden retriever ended up clearly disappointed after realizing the canine wasn’t his dog who ran away last year after a traffic accident near Plymouth.

Dave Vitali lost his dog “Max” in November when he was driving from Georgia to Grand Rapids, Mich., after he lost control of his pickup and rolled along U.S. 31 in Marshall County.

Vitali was hanging upside down, bleeding profusely, and the golden retriever was laying beside him. But the wailing sirens of the approaching ambulance spooked the dog, and he ran off into the countryside.

Vitali contacted media outlets and the Marshall County Humane Society to get help finding Max, but all his attempts failed.

But hope returned last Monday when he received a text message from a 37-year-old Galveston woman saying she believed she’d found his dog.

Ann Miller said she adopted a golden retriever from the Cass County Humane Society last Sunday after animal control officers picked up the dog Feb. 5 at a gas station in Galveston. She named him “Roscoe.”

A friend posted the canine’s photo on Facebook the next day, and within eight minutes, Miller said someone responded by saying it looked like the dog Vitali lost in November.

After tracking down his phone number, Miller texted Vitali that evening, and the two exchanged messages for over three hours trying to determine if the golden retriever was really Max.

Did the dog have a bushy tail like a squirrel? Yes. Did he walk with a limp? Yes. Did he howl like a coyote? Yes. Did he love cats and being around kids? Yes.

“I got goosebumps, because everything he was describing matched perfectly with this dog,” Miller said last week.

On Tuesday, she sent Vitali photos of the golden retriever.

“By that time, he was 99.9 percent sure this was Max,” she said.

Vitali told Miller he wanted to drive from Georgia on Saturday to pick up his dog, and the two decided to meet at Petco Animal Supply in Kokomo.

A crowd of local supporters and camera crews from area new stations met Vitali as he rolled into town. His 11-year-old daughter, Gabby, also made the trip from Grand Rapids, Mich.

But once Vitali met the dog, it didn’t take long for him to realize it wasn’t Max.

The dog’s fur coloring wasn’t quite the same, and Max was a little smaller and younger than the adopted golden retriever. In addition, Miller said the dog showed no signs of recognizing either Vitali or Gabby.

“I was just heartbroken,” Miller said. “Dave was so sure this was Max, and when he realized it wasn’t, my heart just sunk.”

On Saturday, Miller said she asked Gabby if she should keep the name Roscoe for her dog, or continue to call him Max. Gabby said she thought Max was a good name for the golden retriever.

Vitali drove back to Georgia on Sunday, and family friends drove Gabby back to Michigan. The two said they still hope to find Max someday.

Miller said local volunteers plan on hanging posters of the still-missing dog around the area.

Although the golden retriever wasn’t the real Max, Miller said he’ll have a good home at her residence in Galveston, where she lives with her husband, young children and four other dogs.

She said her family has grown to love Max over the last week, and the canine gets along well with everybody.

“He loves the other dogs, the cats, the kids and anybody that gives him treats,” she said Sunday with a laugh.

Miller thanked the community for supporting Max. She said local businesses donated dog food, toys and rabies shots for what was meant to the reunion on Saturday.

Carson Gerber is a Kokomo Tribune reporter. He can be reached at 765-854-6739, or by email at carson.gerber@kokomotribune.com.

For more on this story and other local news, subscribe to The Kokomo Tribune eEdition, or our print edition

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
  • Question Time: Name a baby (or babies) today

    “Imagine you’re having a baby (or babies) today. What would you name it (or them) and why? (You can give answers for a girl, a boy or both; and any combination for twins, triplets, etc.)”

    April 20, 2014

  • 400SUnion.jpg Counties move forward with flood mitigation one year later

    One by one, properties were bulldozed from the neighborhood between Carter and Murden streets in downtown Kokomo, physically erasing evidence of residential flooding in an area long prone to it.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Flooded area - E Murden 01 Jaimz family seeks closure after losing everything Ashley Jaimz and her sister, Amanda Urbina, took a drive through the Cedar Crest neighborhood the other day to view how residents were faring in the wake of a Nov. 17 tornado. The drive was intended to provide some closure to Jaimz, who is still stru

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • NWS - FEMA 03 Kokomo resident whose basement collapsed during flood repairs own home

    Walter Raderstorf can still remember sitting in his living room inside his home on West Park Avenue, realizing he had escaped a brush with death. “I was in the basement carrying stuff up and I came in here and sat down,” he said. “It wasn’t 30 second

    April 20, 2014 2 Photos

  • Late Kokomo teacher dedicates estate to foundation Longtime Kokomo School Corp. teacher Holly Kirkpatrick will continue to have a positive impact on students thanks to a $38,000 donation from her estate to the Kokomo Public Schools Education Foundation. Kirkpatrick died in November 2012 after teachin

    April 20, 2014

  • flood anniversary Thomas family ready to move on after flood In the Thomas household, few things take precedent over baseball. You’d be hard-pressed to find a couple more dedicated to youth baseball in Kokomo — or anywhere else for that matter — than Michael and Lashanda Thomas, who have passed that love of th

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • EasterEgg hunt 10 'Controlled chaos' at city's Easter egg hunt With buckets and Easter baskets in hand, hundreds of kids 10 years old and younger packed Kokomo's Northwest Park Saturday to see who could grab up the most Easter eggs. Organizers split the kids up in three age groups, 0 to 3, 4 to 6 and 7 to 10, wi

    April 20, 2014 4 Photos

  • NWS-FloodFollowDay2-15.jpg April flood brought people together to bail out community

    [Editor’s note: On April 19, 2013, a record flood hit Howard and Tipton counties. Today, we look at some of the financial aspects of the flood. In Sunday’s edition, look for stories about people who were affected, what has changed in the floodplains and how the communities are moving forward.]

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • NWS-KT041914-TwoinjuredinMiamiCocrash-CLG-pic.jpeg Two injured in Miami County crash

    PERU — Two people were injured Thursday afternoon in a two-vehicle crash at the intersection of U.S. 24 and Ind. 19.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Farmer loses seat belt fight on appeal

    Denver-area farmer Thomas Fox doesn’t like to wear his seat belt.
    But after his lengthy fight with the Indiana courts over a seat belt violation, Fox may be rethinking his stance.

    April 19, 2014

Latest news
Featured Ads
Only on our website
AP Video
Raw: More Than 100,000 Gather for Easter Sunday Raw: Greeks Celebrate Easter With "Rocket War" Police Question Captain, Crew on Ferry Disaster Raw: Orthodox Christians Observe Easter Rite Ceremony Marks 19th Anniversary of OKC Bombing Raw: Four French Journalists Freed From Syria Raw: Massive 7.2 Earthquake Rocks Mexico Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Obituaries