MOUNT VERNON — Canine companions are often more than just furry friends, they are extended members of the family, there for all of the highs and lows in life. This holiday season just got a little brighter for Mount Vernon resident Pat King, after she was reunited with her beloved dogs, Gigi and Trooper, which have been with her for almost 10 years.
King had been separated from the dogs, a long-haired Chihuahua and Shih Tzu, respectively, for over a month, following an unfortunate moment that King regrets.
King explained that she was suffering from extreme depression, for which is on disability, and was simultaneously emotionally reeling from her mother’s death in July.
“I was really depressed, my mom had just died July 25,” King said. “I was in a major depression, which I’m already on disability for, so I was in a major depression.”
Through this time, she also had four kittens and a mother cat she was attempting to find homes for.
Oct. 6, she was at Baker’s IGA in Mount Vernon and spoke with a couple about the kittens. King explained that the couple came over to her house to look at the kittens, and she ended up giving away her dogs as well.
“I was just looking for homes for four kittens and a mom, and I ended offering my dogs that I’ve had for almost 10 years. I wasn’t planning it one bit,” she said.
The couple said that they would keep in contact with her about the dogs, King explained, but she did not have any way to contact them herself. All she knew, she said, was that they lived in Danville and drove a pickup truck. And so her frantic search for the dogs began.
“I even went to the IGA grocery store manager, where I met them at, and he pulled the surveillance camera for me,” she said. “I was hoping they paid by debit card so I could get track their names at least, but they paid cash.”
King began plastering posters about the dogs, whom she affectionately calls Trooper Dog and Gigi Girl, all over Danville and posting signs wherever she could to get some information about her beloved dogs. Ultimately, however, the paper signs did not bring her back together with Trooper and Gigi, and entirely more modern form of communication did, Facebook.
“They’ve been together ever since they were eight weeks old, I’ve just been looking for them like crazy,” King said. “I came home from church Sunday and was talking to this lady on Facebook, because she does free Thanksgiving dinners for the needy, and I just thought that was a really awesome thing. I contacted her to volunteer, and I ended up telling her about my dogs. She posted about it on her Timeline, with some pictures of my dogs from my Facebook page, because I didn’t know how to do it.”
A shelter volunteer, Holly Curtis, saw the Facebook post and let King know that Trooper and Gigi were brought into the shelter.
“I just know I’m going to have a really good Thanksgiving,” King said with tears in her eyes. “I thought I did myself in with this one.”
Deputy Dog Warden Brook Brown explained that the dogs had been brought into the shelter last Thursday, Nov. 15, as strays after being abandoned.
“I was just told that someone called in because of barking dogs and they were abandoned in a house,” King said. “My two dogs and two cats were taken in, that’s all I know.”
Upon being reunited with Trooper and Gigi, King laid on the floor, crying and hugging them tightly.
Brown said that emotional reunions like this don’t happen at the shelter very often.
“Not like this, no,” Brown said. “Most people are usually just mad that their dogs got out in the first place. They’re usually like, ‘what are you doing running off?’ Yes, it’s nice [to see.]”
After their long separation, King said that she could not wait to take her dogs home and cuddle with them. She also vowed to never yell at them for barking again, as it probably saved their lives.
“I have a lot of guilt, but I’m so happy,” King said. “And this is going to be a really good Thanksgiving. This will be my first holiday without my mom and it was going to be without my dogs, too, so it’s going to be a lot different now. I don’t think I’m even going to be sad about my mom now, I’m just happy to have my dogs back. I know I’m happy and that they’re OK. I cant wait to get covered in dog hair again. ”