Ocean Beach dog runs away to go back home
by DAVE SCHWAB
Published - 08/29/19 - 07:45 AM | 2942 views | 2 2 comments | 17 17 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Shelby
Shelby
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Marc Thacher’s dog Shelby may or may not be able to hunt, but she sure can find her own way back home.

Thacher, an Ocean Beach resident who lives on the corner of Froude Street and Coronado Avenue, found that out the hard way recently. 

He dropped off Shelby at his friend Kyle’s townhouse in Loma Portal at 4 p.m. on a Sunday before going out of town. “My friend wasn't there, but a girl he's dating was there,” said Thacher, who left and got on a plane. “At 7 p.m. when I landed, Kyle called me to tell me that Shelby ran away. The girl had gone out and came home and Shelby ran out the door and ran away.”

“That has never ever happened before,” Thacher said. “She's a homebody and never goes far. But this time she took off and was gone.”

Kyle was frantically looking everywhere for Shelby but couldn't find her. 

“My heart sank, I was beside myself thinking about how lost and scared she was,” said Thacher. “And what makes it worse is she didn't have her collar on, so no tags, and no one that found her would be able to grab her and call me.”

Thacher pulled out all the stops: posting on several websites listing the lost dog, emailing 25 animal stores in that area (pet good, vets, etc.) and contacting a local lost dog specialist, Babs Frye, who “gave me some excellent advice, five things you should, and should not, do,” he said. 

Thacher noted the key thing Babs told him to do was “stay at home and leave the door open. She also told me to hang something big with my scent on it, like a bedsheet, in a tree outside the house for the dog to track. She also advised cooking bacon on the stove.”

Thacher said Shelby had been missing since 5 p.m. and that Kyle lived over 2 1/2 miles away from him. 

“Everyone was posting on Craigslit, PawBoost, and Nextdoor,” Thacher said. 

Unlike some lost-dog stories however, this one has a happy ending.

“At 11:15 p.m., my neighbor, Fletcher, called me to say that he was walking around looking for Shelby and there she was, magically on my front porch,” said Thacher.

“She took six hours and ran around for well over three miles, crossing Nimitz, Chatsworth, and Catalina, all busy streets, all in an effort to follow her nose to make it all the way home. She ran the wrong direction initially and got even further away — and she was still able to track her way back home.”

Though Shelby is a Vizsla, a Hungarian breed of hunting dog, Thacher said she has never been trained to hunt, which makes her returning on her own all the more miraculous.

Babs Fry’s free nonprofit, A Way Home for Animals Inc., is online at https://onourwayhomeanimal.wixsite.com/oowhanimalrescue?fbclid=IwAR266zLiElT0K1ib9JhUCANm2bUOJhkVGNk8K4iBO5WLbFHquyv40cbzPCE. She can be reached at 619-249-2221,

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Tracy Alex
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August 29, 2019
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