Keokuk dog returns home after 75-day journey

KEOKUK, IOWA — A story with an amazing and happy ending for a Tri-State pet owner and her scared, lost pup.

After a 75 day journey, a Keokuk dog has been returned home.

Keokuk Animal Service Officer, Tom Crew, helped the dog and his owner, Ellen Norman, get reunited.

"He survived 17 below wind chill factors, driving rains, 50 mile per hour winds, the snows we've had," said Crew.

Ellen Norman took her newly rescued 3-year-old dog, Beau, on a walk on November 20th.

That's when another dog attacked Ellen and her dogs.

Beau became frightened and ran away.

A search began thanks to the help of her friends and supporters at Keokuk Animal Services.

Ellen Norman is a board member of Keokuk Animal Services Partners in Rescue (KASPIR).

Beau was spotted all over town.

Keokuk community members tried to catch him. But because Beau was frightened, this only pushed him further away.

"He'd look at you and stop and look, and if you started going slow the direction he was going, he'd just take off," said Crew.

Ellen originally rescued Beau from an animal hoarding situation, where he lacked human interaction.

For the first weeks, with his leash still attached, Beau began fending for himself.

He would sleep during the day and was only spotted at night.

Feeding sites were set up all over town; one of Beau's favorite stops was Fort Worth Barbecue.

They needed more than sightings and feeding sites to capture the terrified dog.

A nonprofit animal rescue group, "The Retrievers," showed Tom Crew and Scott Jeffers how to construct the trap that would eventually lead Beau home.

Using the sightings, Crew mapped out Beau's routine and placed the trap in the perfect location.

Now down to this one feeding station, every day they placed food closer and closer to the trap, hoping to get him inside and take him home.

They used cameras to track his path.

Ellen was woken up many times by phone calls of people who had sighted Beau.

One especially horrific call was one telling Ellen that Beau had been hit by a truck on Main Street.

"We didn't know how bad he was hurt, but he laid in the street for about 30 seconds and barked on his stomach, and then shot off and tore off and ran full speed away from there," said Crew.

Beau got away with only a limp.

At first, the trap caught cats, possums, raccoons, deer, and even a fox, but never Beau.

After staking out the trap night after night, Beau was spotted on one of the cameras.

He was finally inside the trap on February 2nd.

His family immediately came to the rescue.

"Ellen took the catchpole, stood on some steps, I went in, my wife went in, we put two leashes on him and secured him. He didn't growl, he wagged his tail," Crew said.

He was rushed to the vet for a bath.

Other than mud and burrs caked in his fur, Beau was perfectly healthy.

"Everything we had talked about and had been planning worked out, we were ecstatic, to say the least," said Crew.

Crew said they felt it was a sign all their work had paid off when church bells rang out, right after they loaded Beau in the car, at midnight.

Ellen, the Jefferson family, Amy Benson, Cindy Crew, and Tom Crew want to thank the Keokuk community for their commitment to helping bring Beau back home.

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