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Missing Greyhound Sets Off Massive Search



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Missing Greyhound Sets Off Massive Search

By Nancy K. Crevier

There is always a sense of urgency when a pet goes missing, but in the case of their dog, Elwood, the Pansa family — Greg, Kara, and their children Steven and Jason — feel an even more pressing need to see their canine friend home safe and sound. Elwood is a 6-year-old, black greyhound with a white chest. He disappeared the evening of December 23 from the family’s Turkey Hill Road home, and the 80-pound dog, like all greyhounds, has a trait that makes him more susceptible to the weather than most other canines.

Greyhounds are single-coated dogs, with an extremely low body fat ratio. They have no undercoat of fur to help keep them warm, and generally do not go out in the extremes of New England fall and winter weather without a protective jacket.

“Elwood has been with us almost three years,” said Ms Pansa on Monday morning, after nearly five days of futile searching. “I let him out the evening of the 23rd, like we always do, to do his business. It was chilly, so I closed the door and went back in to get his jacket and leash. When I opened it again, he was gone. My husband had been out front and saw Elwood go to the backyard, but we looked and he was nowhere, just like that,” she said.

The docile, friendly greyhound, adopted through the Greyhound Rescue and Rehabilitation organization in Cross River, N.Y., has never before shown an interest in chasing squirrels, rabbits, turkeys, or deer, said Ms Pansa, although he has seen wildlife every day that he has lived with the family. “We have no idea why he took off, and are just sick that we haven’t found him yet,” she said.

The Pansa family fully expected the dog to return at daylight on Christmas Eve, but when he still had not returned, neighbors who also own greyhounds notified Canine Advocates of Newtown and the Greyhound Rescue and Rehabilitation. “That got the ball rolling,” said Ms Pansa. By midnight on Christmas Day, greytalk.com had notified greyhound owners throughout the region about Elwood’s disappearance, and Findtoto.com had called people living in the Turkey Hill area. Dozens of volunteers from three greyhound organizations, Greyhound Rescue and Rehabilitation (GRR), We Adopt Greyhounds (WAG), and the Connecticut Greyhound Adopt joined forces, combing Newtown and nearby Monroe over the weekend.

Greyhounds can go from 0 to 40 mph in a very short time, and cover a mile every two minutes, said GRR volunteer and Newtown resident Dawn Adams. “Elwood could be quite far by now, and because greyhounds are sight hounds and do not really use their noses so much like other hounds, if he chased something and went a couple of miles, he would be confused about where he was and how to get home,” Ms Adams said.

Christine Johnson, director of GRR, was one of 30 volunteers who came to Newtown on Sunday to search for Elwood. “You never know when a greyhound will remember its ‘job’ as a hunting dog, and take off,” said Ms Johnson. And while a greyhound could end up many miles from home, most of the searches usually result in the dog being found within a one- to two-mile radius of its home, she said. “We are saturating the area with flyers,” she said. She was very concerned that there had been no sightings of the big dog as of Monday morning, December 29. “The flyers will help, we hope. Someone will see him and we need that person to know who to call. Every day that goes by that he doesn’t have a food source, this becomes more serious. But greyhounds are survivors. If he has found some shelter, he could make it,” she said. Volunteers from the area greyhound organizations will continue to search “as long as it takes,” said Ms Johnson. “It is way too early in the game to give up.”

Because many of the volunteers have had to return to work after the weekend, the family and Ms Johnson are hopeful that local residents who are on vacation this week will take some time to search for the missing dog.

The dog is probably looking for some kind of shelter, especially as the balmy weekend weather disappears. “Please check your barns, sheds, under your decks, in any abandoned buildings or shelters on your property,” pleaded Ms Pansa. “He could even have gotten into a car with someone, but we really think he is hiding out in a wooded or sheltered area.”

Ms Johnson is concerned that someone may have taken the dog into his or her home, or perhaps hit the dog with a car, and be afraid to come forward. “Any information we get about the dog is strictly confidential if they call our office phone at 914-763-2221. No matter what has happened, we want people to know there will be no repercussions. We just want to know what has happened to Elwood. I placed this dog with the family, and all of our greyhounds are like children to us,” she said.

The dog looks like a black deer, said Ms Johnson, for those who may not be familiar with the breed of racing dogs. “He has a long neck, long, thin legs, and a long snout.” Elwood was wearing a blue collar when he disappeared, but without food, he may have already lost enough weight to have had the collar slip off. While not micro-chipped, Elwood is tattooed. In one ear is the number 52E, and in the other ear, the faded number 12399 might be seen.

Anyone who spots the dog is asked to call GRR at 914-763-2221 or 914-403-0872; Christine Johnson at 914-763-0249; or the Pansa family at 270-5566 or 241-3617. Approach the dog slowly, if possible, and coax him to shelter. It is imperative that the thin-coated dog be brought into a warm environment. Do not, however, chase the dog, said Ms Johnson.

A sighting makes finding a lost dog much easier, and volunteers may have gotten a break when a couple from Monroe called Monday afternoon to report that a black greyhound was in their yard the previous evening at 31 Owl Hill Road. Volunteers said that the woman saw a flyer in a grocery store on Monday and called in the report. Efforts to find Elwood are moving south of Newtown toward that location.

Greg and Kara continue to seek Elwood, or “Woody,” as he is also known. “We go out first thing in the morning, and then again between 2:30 and 7 pm, which are his usual active times, every day. We are very worried about him, and miss him so much. He is the center of our family,” said Ms Pansa.

“He goes everywhere with us. We just went through the motions on Christmas, and would love to have our New Year’s Day be better,” she said.

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