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Dog found 12 days after I-93 crash

New Hampshire Sunday News

August 04. 2016 9:35PM
Lotto gets a lot of attention during a happy reunion with his owner Thursday. From left are owner Felicia Haenel, Granite State Dog Rescue President Holly Mokrzecki and Vice President Susan Piche. (Courtesy)

A pork roast and three packages of hot dogs finally did the trick.

Lotto, a 6-month-old puppy missing since a July 23 motor vehicle crash in Bow, has been reunited with his grateful owner.

Volunteers from Granite State Dog Recovery managed to trap the shepherd mix early Thursday morning, and by afternoon he was back home with owner Felicia Haenel, 20, in North Smithfield, R.I.

Lotto is thinner and a bit bruised, but he’s doing great, Haenel said in a phone interview. “He looks really amazing for what he’s gone through,” she said.

Volunteers from Granite State Dog Recovery had been looking for Lotto since he ran away from the serious crash on Interstate 93 on July 23.

That afternoon, Haenel and her boyfriend, Travis Gallant, were heading back to Rhode Island with Lotto after spending the day at an ATV event in Rumney. Gallant apparently fell asleep at the wheel; the pickup truck went off the highway and rolled over before crashing into a tree.

Haenel remembers checking on Gallant, then looking out the window. “That’s when I saw Lotto running across the highway,” she said.

“I just remember trying to catch him, but he’s obviously so much faster than me,” Haenel said.

She and Gallant were taken by ambulance to Concord Hospital and kept overnight. And that’s where a police officer told her that Lotto was missing.

What she didn’t know at first was that Granite State Dog Recovery was on the case. Dedicated to reuniting lost dogs with their owners, the nonproft group has an active social media presence and volunteer network.

Holly Mokrzecki of Manchester, founder and president of GSDR, said she volunteers searched the area without success. There was one reported sighting two days later, so GSDR set up a trail camera and a trap, baited with a McDonald’s cheeseburger and some rotisserie chicken.

“We got nothing, other than a nice 50-pound bobcat looking in our trap,” Mokrzecki said.

On Tuesday, a Bow family called to say they thought they had spotted the puppy in their woods.

With the landowner’s blessing, GSDR volunteers put out food and set up a camera, and on Wednesday morning, it captured an image of Lotto. So they brought in a trap and baited it — this time with a pork roast and hotdogs, Mokrzecki said.

At 5:15 a.m. Thursday, “our camera started going crazy,” she said. And two minutes later, “We had him.”

Lotto was covered with ticks and a little dehydrated, Mokrzecki said, but X-rays showed no broken bones.

“I see it as almost a miracle that he came back, that he was found,” said Haenel.

She praised GSDR as a group of “truly amazing human beings.”

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