NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — It was a snowstorm miracle for one dog owner in New York City.
A whippet named Burt that vanished five months ago has finally made it home thanks to the help of the FDNY.
A CBS2’s Dave Carlin reported, the snow was invading Monday night, and a thin, lost puppy named Burt howled right along with the winds on Randalls Island.
“I started seeing him about a month ago,” said FDNY Lt. David Kelly.
Kelly, who patrols the Fire Academy on Randalls Island, nicknamed the stray “The Rock” — the same one used for the facility. He said on at least 12 different occasions he tried but failed to catch the pup.
“He would rummage around for food at the garbage cans, so I’d put food out by the garbage cans to see if he’d come by,” Kelly said. “I’d see him eat. I’d try go up to him, and he’d run away.”
But the storm that walloped the Tri-State Area late Monday and early Tuesday forced Kelly to get creative, and he brought out a cage, some dog food and a long rope.
“I left the door open. I tied a 40-foot rope to it,” he said. “I sat inside the vehicle; left window open a little bit, and finally he came out, and when he went in the cage, I pulled it closed and I got him.”
With the dog now safe, Kelly searched on the internet putting in “greyhound” and “lost.” Then he typed whippet instead of greyhound, and an assortment of pictures popped up.
Photo after photo showed a missing dog, who broke free from his Harlem home five long months ago. There were fliers, and a Facebook page titled “Bring Burt Home.”
And Kelly did just that, reuniting Burt with his owner, Lauren Piccolo early Tuesday.
“As soon as he saw his owner, the dog started wagging his tail; licking her,” Kelly said.
A Facebook page said Burt — a brindle-colored puppy both “devilishly handsome” and “bashful” — wandered off near his Upper Manhattan home back in August.
As the months dragged on, there were possible sightings of Burt near Grant’s Tomb and the Upper West Side, but the dog’s first birthday in November came and went with him still missing, according to the Facebook page.
So how did Burt manage to get onto Randalls Island? The best guess is he came over the river on a pedestrian bridge, Carlin reported.
Piccolo released a statement following Burt’s return, telling CBS2 she was grateful for Kelly’s efforts.
“I am tremendously grateful for the efforts of the FDNY to recover Burt. Burt had been running loose in the City for more than five months and managed to evade capture by friends, family and many good Samaritans,” the statement said. “While Burt is a resilient dog, I don’t think he would have survived such a fierce storm. The FDNY’s efforts were incredible and timely! Burt is resting at home and is expected to make a full recovery.”
“She said she’s very thankful. She wanted to reward me,” Kelly said. “I said no that’s not what I’m all about.”
Kelly said as a dog lover himself, rescuing Burt was the least he could do.
The dog was being checked by a veterinarian late Tuesday.
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