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Finding Home

Written by Dugan Arnett
Design and development by Yan Wu
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Milton, Mass. photo by Eric Moreno on Flickr / Creative Commons. Photo is illustrated from original.


When a small terrier showed up in the Boston suburb of Milton recently, its adventures — and ability to elude capture — quickly caught the attention of the community. Given the details of the story, the Globe has decided to tell it in the form of a children’s book. The following is based on animal control reports, security camera photos, and interviews with those who encountered the curious little dog.

Photo illustration credits: JStaley401/iStock

One day, in the friendly little town of Milton, a mysterious visitor arrived out of the blue.

The little dog was a sight to behold. Its brown and gray fur was long and stringy. It wore no collar. No one could say where, exactly, it had come from. But before long, they began spotting the little dog all over town.

There it was at Milton Academy on Centre Street...

And in the woods behind Brook Road.

There it was, too, at the town cemetery, frolicking among the gravestones.

One evening, Mr. Murphy came home to find the little dog trotting out of his garage.

Ms. Wells spotted it strutting across two lanes of traffic.

Over on Aberdeen Road, Ms. Bilewicz glanced out her window one afternoon to discover the dog curled up in her backyard, taking a nap.

* The red-roof house represents where the dog was spotted.

Photo illustration credits: LeFion/iStock

“Who was this little dog?” the townspeople wondered. Surely, it must be cold and hungry. Wasn’t it scared out there, all alone at night with the coyotes?

Yet, try as they might, no one could manage to wrangle the little dog.

Day after day, week after week, the pup roamed free.

Stumped, the townspeople turned to Ms. Bersani, the local animal control officer. Ms. Bersani loved animals. She had three dogs of her own. If anyone could catch this furry fugitive, it was her.

But even Ms. Bersani proved no match for the speedy little pup.

“This dog,” she grumbled, “is going to be the end of me."

Then one day last month, just as it was beginning to look like the mysterious little dog might never be caught, Ms. Bersani got an idea.

She drove to Dunkin’ Donuts and purchased a bacon, egg, and cheese breakfast sandwich. She unwrapped the treat and placed it inside a large metal trap. And then she waited.

Sure enough, the little dog eventually took the bait. It wandered toward the trap. It sniffed in the direction of the breakfast sandwich. Then it stepped inside...

Clang! went the trap. Bark! went the dog. Gotcha! went Ms. Bersani.

Later that day, at the town vet, Ms. Bersani gave the dog a bath and plucked the ticks from its fur. The little terrier looked up at her happily, its pink tongue poking from its mouth.

But still, the little dog had no home. No one had come forward to claim the pup. And for the next month or so, it sat in a cage at the town shelter, waiting for anyone who might want it.

And that's where it remained, until a man in Boston opened the newspaper one day and read about a little dog in need of an owner.

The man, whose name was Mr. Sitzler, lived alone. He had no children. His wife had passed away years earlier.

Lately, he had been thinking about getting a dog, to keep him company. There was something about this dog's story he couldn't stop thinking about.

And so, one afternoon last week, Mr. Sitzler drove to the shelter. He smiled as the little dog jumped at his feet. He whispered kindly to it as he held it in his arms. Then he loaded the little dog into his car, drove it back to Boston, and -- as the dog's tail wagged and wagged -- led it up the stairs and through the front door of his apartment.

"This," Mr. Sitzler said to the little dog, " is your home now."

Photo illustration credits: John Tlumacki, Eva Maldonado
Audio: Taylor de Lench