This happy ending is a tribute to crowd-sourcing, social media and our tight-knit, animal-loving community.
A pet owner’s nightmare: returning to an empty car or yard where a furry face should be waiting. Owner Erin Harker of Main Street, Manayunk stopped by a friend’s on Ridge in Roxborough; when she got out her car was unlocked and Fats was missing.
Search parties quickly gathered for Fats the puppy, missing from Erin’s car outside Northern Children’s Services on Ridge Ave (near Lauriston St) around 11:30 pm Saturday night Oct 25. She’d only briefly stopped in to see a friend — maybe 30 minutes, tops. Her friend’s dog was aggressive, so Fats had to wait in the car. The evening was clear and cool, Fats was tired. Who would take her dog? Or would someone have just let him out?
She canvassed the neighborhood numerous times. Crossing guards reported kids have seen the dog around but these are elementary school kids, and the breed is popular in the area. Still, the rumors gave her hope that Fats was around.
The area where she parked might’ve been covered by several security cameras. Erin began working with store owners to track down footage, searching for leads. The search expanded into Chestnut Hill, Mt. Airy, Germantown…. flyers went up in shops and home windows, as animal lovers banded to help a pet owner in need.
Erin was in the process of following a possible lead from security camera footage when she got a call from someone in North Philadelphia who’d seen him wandering around Broad Street. He recognized his picture from a flyer he’d seen in someone’s car window — he didn’t ask about the reward, and was adamant that Fats needed medical treatment at once.
Fats tested positive for Parvo, a highly contagious viral disease that can be life-threatening. In young animals like Fats, the virus can damage heart muscle tissue, causing lifelong cardiac problems. Fats required thousands of dollars in medical bills. Donations poured into the vet’s office. Within hours, Erin posted to please stop calling — the vet told her enough already!
Erin set up a GoFundMe page for Fat’s medical care — any extra she receives she’ll be donating to an emergency vet care fund. Stay tuned for more on Fat’s story as we check in with Erin and Fat’s reunion.
Facebook status update from Erin, “My baby is home! Had his meds, ate dinner, and cuddling with his favorite pillow. We’re both soooooo happy and grateful!”