Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Local dog returns from road trip to Florida

Nimaway would be proud

by Than Acuff

The local Facebook Marketplace pages are a treasure trove for pretty much anything under the sun as well as a virtual soapbox for many to air their grievances.

Recently, those very pages proved the saving grace for one local dog owner and her dog. And, while it seems everyday local Facebook pages contain pleas from pet owners looking for their missing loved ones, this story is somewhat different and involves a cross-country road trip concluding almost a month later with a happy reunion.

Marley Moo is an 11-year-old Jack Russell terrier mix and has spent a majority of his life with the Schmer family, after Tylor “Ty” Schmer picked him up as a stray when she was in high school.

“He was just so skittish and scared,” says Ty.

Once Ty graduated from college, she took Marley Moo in for good and she and her faithful companion moved to Colorado three years ago to enjoy everything the west has to offer from their home in the Gunnison Valley.

“He’s a great adventure buddy,” says Ty. “He’s a little guy but he’s strong. He’s been on river trips, though he doesn’t much like the water he likes riding in the boat, and climbed peaks.”

Ty and Marley Moo were returning from once such adventure climbing Wheeler Peak in New Mexico when the adventure began for both of them as Marley Moo jumped out of the car during a quick roadside stop.

“I just jumped out at the Dillon Pinnacles to get a picture of the sunset,” says Ty.

Marley Moo loves riding in the car and has never jumped out, but for some reason, at that time, he decided to take a quick break out of the car.

Ten minutes later down the road Ty did what she always does, asked Marley Moo about dinner, but Marley Moo didn’t respond.

“He usually gives me a little nose bop but he didn’t,” says Ty. “From there the chaos ensued.”

Frantic retracing of her steps proved fruitless and Ty and her friends and family around the country went to work on getting the word out about the missing dog. Park rangers jumped in to help as well on several occasions; fliers were posted everywhere; more than 200 vet clinics and shelters were called in nine states looking for Marley Moo; and Ty put the message out on Facebook—but a week into the search, Marley Moo was nowhere to be found.

“Giving up was not an option,” says Ty. “I was pretty convinced he was picked up by an RVer and was driving along eating some nice woman’s chicken and living the life.”

While rallying more friends for another organized search of the area, Ty was also about to get together with a friend for her friend’s birthday on July 1. Her friend texted saying she was going to “manifest him coming home.”

It was that same day that Ty received a call from a woman in Florida. It turned out her cousin and her cousin’s husband were driving through Colorado on their way back to Florida from Utah and had found Marley Moo alone and picked him up. When this woman saw Marley Moo and the couple explained where they picked him up, she looked on the local Facebook Marketplace pages and saw the listing at the top of one of the pages that Ty had posted.

“It was 9 o’clock that evening and I got a call from this nice lady saying she’s pretty sure she had Marley Moo,” explains Ty. “I was ecstatic.”

Ty just happens to have a friend in St. Petersburg, Florida and another who was in Tampa but heading back home to Lyons, Colorado on July 7. So her friend in St. Petersburg drove to Orlando, picked up Marley Moo and drove him to Tampa and Marley Moo was on a plane back to DIA, where Ty went to get him.

“I feel like a winner,” says Ty. “I’m so happy he’s coming home. Everyone was just so kind through all of this.”

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