A North Massapequa family had their hearts broken this Valentine’s Day when their dog, Cody, ran away. But after 13 days without their 8-year-old labradoodle, the Donovans were reunited Thursday with their furry companion.
“It was horrible, like losing a child,” Kerry Donovan, 52, told Oyster Bay Town Supervisor John Venditto as he picked up the dog from the town’s animal shelter in Syosset.
Donovan’s youngest son, Michael, 14, said he was with with his mom, Mary, picking up Cody from a groomer in Massapequa on Feb. 14 when something spooked the dog and it wiggled out of its harness. Cody bolted down Broadway, heading northeast into the Massapequa Preserve.
“My heart was racing,” Michael said. “I walked through that whole preserve for about three hours by myself looking for him, but I didn’t see anything.”
The next day, Michael’s brother, Matthew, 17, spotted the dog inside the preserve, about 10 feet from where he was standing, and called out to it.
“His head popped up, so I knew it was him,” Matthew said.
But Matthew said as he walked toward Cody, the dog sprinted away and he couldn’t catch him.
The Donovans blanketed the communities with hundreds of flyers, created a Facebook page and continued to search for the dog every day, but they weren’t the only ones looking. A friend of the family had contacted the Town of Oyster Bay Animal Shelter, which deployed its staff to the area almost immediately to sniff out the dog.
Friends, neighbors and strangers also joined the search efforts, sharing Cody’s photo on social media, reporting sightings of the dog and scouting the area. On Sunday, Donovan said more than 100 volunteers fanned out throughout the preserve looking for Cody, but the dog eluded them.
Finally, on Thursday morning, Donovan received a call from shelter director Laurie Scarpa letting him know she had Cody. She said the dog had been caught by one of the two traps her staff had set up Wednesday behind homes bordering the preserve, where Cody had been spotted before. They had placed bacon donated from a local deli inside to lure him in.
“It was a long couple of weeks, we all are exhausted, but we wanted to find him,” Scarpa said.
Should he go missing again, the search shouldn’t be as exhausting thanks to a new microchip outfitted for Cody.
Aside from a roughly 15-pound weight loss and a possibly infected front paw, Donovan said Cody survived the ordeal relatively well. However, he did appear very tired.
“He’s overwhelmed by his experience, but I’m sure when he sees his mommy, my wife Mary, he’s going to go nuts,” he said. “It’s going to be a very happy night."