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This is Vermont addition I’m Mitch work leave in early 2016 a collective sigh of relief could be heard from the town of Waterbury when Murphy , the dog was found and returned to his owners for over a year the community pulled together in an effort to find this amazing for my dog his odyssey is now an e-book called Catching Murphy written by longtime Associated Press reporter Wilson Ring ring recently sat down with the PRS Bodkin sought to explain how instead of covering this story. He became a key part of it .
Well I didn’t set out that way. It’s just one of those things you know fate happens sometimes I looked out it was December 7th actually on in 2014 and I looked out the back window of my house in Waterbury and there in the field behind the house , there is this golden retriever and I knew that there was a golden retriever that was missing . He’d been on front porch forum regularly and I immediately knew that that was the dog I was seen .
And he goes missing in June of that year , after a car crash.
Correct. He went missing at the end of June 2014 . He was involved in a car crash in Stow the car he was riding in hit a tree it broke off an 8-inch tree so it was a pretty violent crash . Fortunately , the driver was okay ultimately okay she did go to the hospital but she opened the door to check on the dog and he bolted and I found out so much in the process of this that it’s not uncommon for dogs after a trauma like a car crash or a house fire something for them to run away and be afraid and the driver Kirsten Campbell she called all her friends , okay , you go catch my dog , and of course they immediately sent out looking for him , but they didn’t know that the number one rule of missing dogs is don’t chase them and don’t yell their name because it’s going to scare them and so they weren’t chasing after him and the more they chased the more scared he became .
So after he’s missing for a week or 2 does Murphy’s family feel it’s just a matter of time before he’s going to show up.
Oh , absolutely , I mean it’s not unusual for dogs to go missing after a traumatic event. But when they do go missing usually after a few days . They will , for whatever reason decide they want to come in from the cold , literally and figuratively and they will allow themselves to be caught but not Murphy .
You know this is a story that really does captivate an entire community as you were mentioning front porch forum. It’s a compelling story , a lot of people get involved . You know , it’s a way for them to communicate with each other about what’s happening with Murphy .
It’s true and I to me , I thought that was the most heart aside from catching him. Ultimately , that was the most heart-warming thing of the whole experience was how the whole community came up together everyone people would report their sightings since say I just saw Murphy on Route 100 or I saw him here and we’re where is going to get hit by a car and the whole community cared and that caring really played a key part in helping bring him home .
It was amazing reading the book , How many sightings of Murphy. There are , I mean he’s cited all the time . And yet no one can quite catch up .
So it’s true , you can’t , you could say he wasn’t really lost because we knew sort of where he was. It’s just you couldn’t catch him somebody at one point saw him and chased him thinking they could catch him and he just headed for the hills . So it was more of the same we had lure him into this trap . We set up in my backfield and it just took him a long time before he became comfortable going into it .
It’s fascinating that there are many times that he’s on your property , you can look out and see him late at night. He’s eating the food that you’ve left for him every day you’ve got cameras recording him out there . He’s so close , but he’s so far away .
That’s exactly right and we learned again we learned you don’t chase him cause he’s going to run. And so you see him , and all I could think of was , okay , we just got to keep them coming here until we can finally lure him into this trap and we did catch him once about 2 months after I saw him in my yard . We actually caught him in this trap . It was a homemade trap that the owner Ed Hamel made of for more Seville and the trap worked we caught him and I wouldn’t have believed this if it wasn’t on video . But we had a video trail camera on it he chewed his way through the wire of the trap and escaped and our jaws dropped when he was in the trap for 20 minutes before he chewed his way through and got out . We had so many near misses especially early on we lure him into the tribe at one point I went out there and he didn’t abate but the trap frozen open so we didn’t catch him several times I’ve found the trap the gate to the trap clothes and I don’t know if he triggered it and somehow escaped if the wind did it or why it went off , but he just wasn’t in it , and after a while . We just all of us who were involved . Just got to thinking , how is he going to outsmart us again because we’ve come up with something he was always one or 2 steps ahead of us .
And also turns out that this entire experience becomes a very important part of your daily life in many ways. Your life outside of work is consumed by the effort to find Murphy this goes on for more than a year . I mean that’s an incredible commitment what type and going .
Well , if I would’ve known when I first saw him that it was going to take 13 months. I don’t know what I would have done it was in a way had horses at the time , and it wasn’t that hard to add feeding Murphy to the routine of going out and feeling in taking care of the horses twice a day , so it wasn’t that hard to add him to that but at the same time . After a while , it just became a Chow a challenge . I just wanted to see this dog caught at the same time , we were all worried that he was going to I think our greatest fear was that he was gonna get hit by a car and killed crossing route one hundred he probably crossed that half a dozen times a day and this was a dog that had had no experience with the roads before he got away . So that was our biggest fear and then sort of another fear is that he would just disappear and you’d never know what happened to him it was rare , but there were some times where he wouldn’t show up for the night and then you would wonder is he gone has he . Who knows what goes to a new place or been killed somehow and is where we’ll never find his carcass and you don’t know but fortunately he always came back .
So after surviving in the wild for about a year and a half through 2 tough tough winners as you mentioned Murphy gets caught in the trap. It’s late at night , you can see that he’s there what course through your mind .
I looked out my back window. And we had so many electronics on the strap . It was really kind of silly but they all were needed to catch him . There was a red light that went off and when I saw the light and then I got . Oh my goodness there’s a light and so I grabbed the spotlight that I had by my back door just for this occasion and I shine trying to run the trap and there are his lights or his eyes reflected in the light and so my first thought was , oh my goodness how is he going to escape before I get to the trap , fortunately in this case he didn’t . It only took me a couple of minutes . But we had strengthened the trap with stronger wire although I ice I no indication that he tried to chew his way out . Again I frankly wonder . I mean you you’re going into that second winter and I wonder if deep down , Murphy said . Okay . We’ve had enough of this , I’m just going to go in here and let us trap catch me and I’ll go home , so I went out there and on my way to the trap but it was a couple hundred feet behind my house I walked out and called everybody . Before I go to the trap and then , I walk up to the trap and he as I approach .