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The Verde Independent | Cottonwood, Arizona

home : features : people, places & past April 29, 2016

7/2/2013 1:15:00 PM
A happy ending for this lost chubby Chihuahua
Lola and Jada are reunited thanks to the help of volunteers from Cottonwood’s Adopt a Life Center for Animals. Courtesy photo/Tessa Unwin
Lola and Jada are reunited thanks to the help of volunteers from Cottonwood’s Adopt a Life Center for Animals. Courtesy photo/Tessa Unwin
By Tessa Unwin
Volunteer Adopt for Life Center for Animals

Jada Love has an infectious chuckle - especially rich for a darling, gap-toothed, six-year-old girl. The thing that makes Jada chuckle more than anything else is Lola, her chubby Chihuahua. But Jada wasn't chuckling last week, and the reason had a lot to do with Lola's "chubbiness."

Lola had gotten too fat for her collar, so her family took it off with the intention of getting a bigger one. Unfortunately, Lola also got out of the yard and was hot-footing it down Mingus Avenue, miserable and panicked. Jada and her family were desperately searching for her in the scorching neighborhood around Cottonwood's Recreation Center and Library.

"We couldn't find her anywhere," recalls Jada. "She was lost. She's my sister, and she was lost."

Carolyn Prelle spotted the rolly-polly creature panting down the busy street near the Post office. "I saw her almost get run over twice," said Carolyn.

She and her colleagues were enroute to a meeting, but they decided to block traffic with their truck and scoop up the exhausted pup. Carolyn had been a volunteer at the Humane Society (now the Adopt for Life Center for Animals - AFLCA) in the past, and knew to call there to report the lost dog.

She dialed AFLCA and talked to a volunteer about the Chihuahua they had rescued. She gave the volunteer a description and said she would hang on to the little dog in case the owners were trying to find her.

Carolyn decided to return to the office so the dog could rest in the air conditioning along with their "office dog," Bootie. On the way she stopped in at the Verde Valley Animal Hospital to check if the dog had a micro-chip. She did not.

In the meantime, Jada's family was also calling the shelter. Since the volunteer was taking a report from Carolyn, their call went to voice mail where they left a brief accounting of their situation along with their address.

The volunteer retrieved the voice mail and quickly called the number they had left. Unfortunately, in their distress, they had turned off their phone.

The volunteer called Carolyn back and let her know the vicinity the family was searching, and told her the owner's phone was off. "Her name is Lola," said the volunteer. "Oh my goodness, she is definitely a Lola!" Carolyn said. She graciously offered to drive around the area to see if she could find the family.

A few minutes later a family friend who was assisting in the search called the shelter. As she breathlessly relayed information on Lola, the volunteer interrupted to tell her that family's phone was turned off, that Lola had been rescued, and that the lady who found her was, at that moment, driving around with Lola and looking for the search party.

"Oh my god!" the caller yelled. "There she is! There's Lola in the truck!" As screaming voices swelled in the background, the caller hung up, leaving the bemused volunteer listening to a dial tone.

After performing a few more chores at the shelter's front desk, the volunteer called Carolyn to make sure the reunion had gone well and Little Lola could be removed from the lost dog list.

"They came running and surrounded the truck," reports Carolyn. "There was a lot of excitement and Lola was thrilled! They kept saying 'thank you, thank you'. It warmed my heart."

Lola's escapade was a cautionary tale for everyone involved to check their pets for current information on their collars and tags, including Carolyn.

"This was a great reminder for me," she says. "We all love Bootie (Australian Shepherd) and can't imagine losing him." Bootie had been a Humane Society rescue, and during his stay there the shelter was getting ready for a Petapalooza.

Unfortunately, Bootie was not going to be included. "I took him home to give him a bath with the intention of entering him in another adoption event. Once he was home, that was it. I decided to keep him. He also got lonely when I'd go to work, so I started to bring him in with me. Now he is our beloved office dog."

The Adopt for Life Center for Animals would like to remind pet owners that a collar and tags (and microchip) are a true lifeline for the animals. Fourth of July fireworks and the anticipated thunder and lightning of monsoon season often startle pets into a panicked, mindless run.

Each year the shelter will receive about a dozen dogs lost over the Fourth of July alone. If a pet is micro-chipped the Animal Control Officers or shelter staff can return them to their families quickly and with minimal trauma. If no identification is present the animal will be processed into the shelter system and placed in a kennel or cage.

A report will be filed in the Pets Lost and Found book. Staff and volunteers elicit description and detailed information about lost animals from people calling to report lost pets.

Conversely, reports of found pets and those brought in by Animal Control are checked continuously. Dozens of matches are made each year and everyone celebrates these reunions.

Unfortunately, too often beloved pets are never found and a family is left to grieve. The shelter encourages people who have lost pets to post them on Adopt for Life's Facebook and on Yavapai Broadcasting's

Make flyers and posters and put them on nearby intersections. A good tip is to put a big poster of the lost pet and your phone number right in your front yard.

Many times well-meaning people take lost animals home and have no idea how to reunite them with their owners.

A prominently-placed poster solves the problem.

Lola is back home with Jada and her family now. She sports a new collar and tags. "We like to play babies and she will ride in the buggy," brags Jada. "We go see the goats and Llama George. She protects me and if I cry, she licks my tears off."

If Lola were to jump out of the buggy and get lost, Jada knows that someone will read her tags and bring her home. "She wears her collar all the time now," Jada says hugging Lola; both the little girl and her dog are smiling.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Wednesday, July 3, 2013
Article comment by: Lisa O'Neill

How wonderful that Adopt for Life volunteers not only unite homeless animals with new forever families, but also work to reunite lost pets with their people. Thank you!

Posted: Tuesday, July 2, 2013
Article comment by: Tessa Unwin

Just this morning the shelter united another lost dog (no collar) with a very anxious owner. This dog did not like wearing her collar and is an indoor dog. However, yesterday's storm caused the screen door to bang open, scared her right out of the house and down the street, where a kind neighbor took her in. At some point, she was also "skunked". Not a great day for this doggie or her owner. Take care that collars and tags are in place, folks! The Fourth of July WILL bring lost , scared dogs to the shelter. Take care it isn't yours.T7T64L

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