A missing puppy recently led rescuers on a wild goose chase all the way from Brooklyn to New Jersey before finally being found.
Police say the 7-month-old puppy, a German Shepherd-Akita mix named Bailey, was on the lam for 10 days after escaping from his Red Hook yard in Brooklyn and then somehow managing to cross state lines.
According to dog trainer Harriet Zucker, who took part in the search, Bailey’s journey began with a swim in the East River and ended in a Home Depot in New Jersey.
Zucker said the dog was spotted swimming in the river by a researcher on a barge, but when the man attempted to help bring the dog to shore, he swam away.
Apparently, Bailey has behavioral issues and is afraid of humans.
The researcher was able to herd the dog back to shore, where he slept on the rocks and sunbathed before setting off again, this time toward the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel.
In the meantime, Zucker pasted missing posters around Brooklyn and received a tip that the dog was near the tunnel.
Suddenly, videos began to stream in on Twitter showing the dog trotting through the tunnel and surprising motorists.
An officer manning the tunnel contacted Zucker to say that Bailey exited at Manhattan near Trinity Street.
Days after unsuccessfully searching the area and continuing to post flyers, Zucker received a call that the dog had been located by Port Authority officers near a Home Depot in New Jersey. Apparently, Bailey crossed the Holland tunnel to reach Jersey City.
Pennsylvania Officer Andrew Vignapiano led the team during the search for the dog. He said that during his five years with the Emergency Services Unit (ESU), he had never had to talk a dog off of a ledge, but that’s exactly what he did on the North Tube of the Holland Tunnel.
“It opens up to about six–seven lanes of very late people going to work. Everyone is in a rush. It’s a dangerous area to walk a dog on a leash, let alone to have one running on its own. I’d say that dog is incredibly lucky,” Vignapiano said.
Police found Bailey on the second floor of a Home Depot parking garage, where they successfully found him and brought him to a veterinarian.
Zucker couldn’t imagine such a long and dangerous journey for a puppy that had never been outside before.
“It was pretty surprising that he ended up in New Jersey, which is quite an adventure for a puppy that’s never been outside before,” Zucker said. “The most amazing thing to me is just the journey that he took. He’s lucky and I just think it says something about the resilience and the instinctual cleverness because this dog had really never been out,” Zucker continued.
Zucker confirmed that Bailey was safe and healthy except for a minor leg wound and some weight loss after being on the streets for a week.
The dog trainer is in the process of reuniting Bailey with his owners and finding a foster parent that can help the puppy overcome his fear of humans.
“There’s a lot of hope for him, he’s a nice dog,” said Zucker. “I do think he’s going to be a big snuggle. He needs a person that he’ll know has his back all the time.”