This is the story of Kiki's escape and how a community banded together to look for her. This is also the story of what makes Rhinebeck the best place to live in the Hudson Valley.
Our 10 month old rescue pup, Kiki, escaped while chasing a deer on Thursday afternoon. We tracked her through the woods until her tracks vanished and we scoured Burger Hill and the surrounding backwoods, then we hopped in our car and started expanding the search area. We started posting flyers and knocking on doors but it was already 11pm, so we made the hard decision to call it a night and have faith that our tough pup would find her way back home.
It was impossible to sleep, so at daybreak we set off and started searching the area again; once 8am hit, we went door to door with flyers, talking to everyone that lived in the area. We always knew Rhinebeck was a special place, but we were genuinely humbled and grateful for how much our neighbors banded together to help us in our time of need. It's impossible to list everything that happened, because a lot of help was happening without us even knowing or asking, and for that we are eternally grateful. Here are a few examples of how the Rhinebeck community truly banded together:
- One neighbor combed the backwoods on foot, treats and whistle in hand, at least a dozen times in 36 hours
- Another neighbor posted to Lost Pets of the Hudson Valley on our behalf (which quickly garnered over 200 shares in less than 8 hours)
- A different neighbor drove street by street, slowly expanding the search area, with treats and an extra collar, and emailed/texted over 500 people in the area
- Our neighbors, on the other side of the ridge that borders our street, banded together and held a neighborhood meeting about Kiki and they all left bowls of food out in an attempt to lure Kiki to safety
- By the time we got 5 houses into canvassing another neighborhood, the residents told us they were already alerted by their other neighbors, apparently word travels fast when a puppy is missing!
- Random people from Nextdoor and Lost Pets of Hudson Valley were texting us throughout the day, asking where we last searched, so they could continue searching on foot while we flyered the village...and the texts kept coming throughout the night
- Many of our favorite local businesses and organizations posted to their socials to help spread the word and the ones that had community bulletin boards were more than happy to make space so that we could put our poster in a prominent position for everyone to see
Everywhere we went, we were greeted with well wishes, words of encouragement, and offers to help. It literally felt like the entire city was on high alert and looking for Kiki. It was this generosity and neighborhood spirit that kept us in a positive mindset. As evening started to fall, we retraced our usual search area, re-examining every crevice and fallen tree for signs of Kiki, any place she may have used for shelter, but there was still no sign of her, and worse yet, no calls from the local vets or SPCAs, and no new sightings since Thursday night. We did more loops of our neighborhood and surrounding areas, banging her food dishes together and yelling her name, and at 10 or 11pm (timing is such a blur at this point), we settled in, and had faith that Kiki was hiding out somewhere warm, waiting for another night to pass. It was impossible to sleep, but exhaustion was starting to set in, and we both drifted off to sleep around midnight.
Our other dog Wally started barking at 2am, so we leapt up to check outside, but there was nothing. We called out her name, banged her food dishes, but still no sign. Then Wally started barking like crazy again at 3:45am; assuming it was nothing, we yelled at him to stop, but he kept barking so we ran down stairs.... Brendan got down the stairs first and I'll never forget what he said, "Oh my god, Kiki's home".
There she was, chomping at the huge bowl of food we left outside. By the time I got down the stairs, Brendan had already opened the door and Kiki raced over to say hi, wagging her tail without a care in the world. She was clearly happy to see us, but she immediately ran to her pillow and laid down on her side, barely able to keep her eyes open. We examined her, and other than a busted nail and some roughed up paw pads, she was in great shape.
We were still in shock and had to pinch each other to make sure it was real, but against all odds, our little Kiki managed to find her way home just as the latest snowstorm was intensifying. We gave her water and wiped her down, and she quickly curled up and went to sleep, her 36-hour odyssey had finally come to an end.
Our local vet, Rhinebeck Animal Hospital, had a jam packed schedule on Saturday, but they knew that Kiki had gone missing and they were elated to hear that she found her way home. They allowed us to drop her off and they ran bloodwork and gave her a full examination in between other patients. We are so grateful for their flexibility and willingness to go above and beyond. They found nothing abnormal in her bloodwork (yay!), wrapped her foot to protect a broken nail, and then sent her home with the cutest bandage and some pain meds because her paw pads got pretty torn up and were causing her to limp.
We got our first night of semi-normal sleep as a reunited family of four. All things considered, Kiki was really lucky and after 24 hours of rest, she's already back to her silly self:
It's hard to put into words what a sheer emotional rollercoaster the past few days have been. One thing is crystal clear though, our community showed up for us in ways we never could have imagined. Although we'll never be able to truly thank everyone for what they did, please know that we are eternally indebted and grateful to every single person that played a role in Kiki's safe return. Thank you.
And an extra special thanks to:
Lost Pets of the Hudson Valley