Reunited through dogged efforts
It took three searches and help from friends, but Brad and Luretta Turk of Marion found their lost dog, Maggie Mae, on Saturday. Maggie, a dachshund, went missing Thursday.
The Turks took Maggie with them to the county lake Thursday at the invitation of Larry and Barb Smith to watch fireworks. They didn’t put a leash on Maggie, because she always stays with them, Luretta said.
The fireworks made Maggie nervous, Luretta said, but the dog didn’t run off until a big branch fell out of a tree and crashed onto a stage where they were watching the fireworks. Luretta knows Maggie didn’t run off earlier than that because she was feeding her a hotdog — her favorite food — right before the branch fell. She thinks Maggie ran away during the commotion of checking that nobody was hurt.
“I didn’t notice she was missing for 10 minutes,” Luretta said.
She spent three hours Thursday night looking for Maggie. The whole crowd there to see the fireworks joined in. Luretta was afraid to leave Maggie at the lake because the dog had never been outside overnight.
Luretta went back to the lake at 6 a.m. Friday and spent four more hours looking for Maggie to no avail. Later in the day, she got a call from Steve Hudson at the lake office when a group of Girl Scouts from Peabody found a dog matching Maggie’s description. She and Brad rushed out of lunch at the Smiths’ Country Lakes Café to pick up Maggie.
“They had found a black dog with a red collar,” she said, but it wasn’t Maggie.
Girl Scout leader Tina Spencer said the scouts eventually found the owners of that dog. Its collar had a tag with a phone number.
Friends of the Turks, including Patty Lewis, spread posts on Facebook about Maggie being missing, asking for any information. On Saturday, Lewis got a call from someone who had seen Maggie north of the lake’s trailer park, chasing rabbits.
The Turks went to the lake again to continue searching for Maggie. Luretta looked in a field neighboring the lake, but couldn’t find her until a woman in a golf cart told her she had seen Maggie chase a rabbit into a different field. Luretta got into the back of the couple’s pickup, and Brad drove the length of the field. Luretta watched and called for Maggie.
“I just kept hollering, ‘Maggie Mae! Maggie Mae!’” Luretta said.
Finally, Luretta heard the jingling of Maggie’s collar. They stopped the truck and tried to coax Maggie out of the field. All they could see until she reached the fence were the tips of her ears sticking up above plants.
“We just bawled,” Luretta said. “Brad still is. She’s our little girl.”
Luretta described Maggie as the child they never had. She has been even more special since Brad had a stroke last August. Luretta said it was comforting to know that Brad was never truly alone at home.
“She’s priceless,” Luretta said.
Before returning home, they gave Maggie water, which she thirstily lapped up, and picked a tick out of her ear. When they got home, Luretta fed Maggie a pair of hot dogs, figuring she was hungry after two days away from home.
“She’s grounded for a very long time,” Luretta said.
And from now on, Maggie is going to be on a leash when they go to the lake.