Scent of family lures dog home

Brutus the wandering beagle is happy to be back home with his family and the neighbors who found him, pictured clockwise from bottom, Annabelle Pullman, Jacob Pullman, Peter Kraft and Sean Kraft. Photo by Darcy Pullman

When many Bay Village residents were preparing for and finalizing Fourth of July festivities, family, friends and many with compassionate hearts were pounding the pavement in search of a Bay Village beagle named Brutus. 

Brutus has storm and firework phobia like many other animals and his family, the Pullmans, and rescue volunteers knew that time was of the essence since firework displays were set to go off all around the area. Some said prayers to patron saints like St. Francis, St. Christopher and St. Anthony to please keep this little dog safe and bring him home.

The city was plastered with flyers, email blasts, social media and no sightings. The dog's bed and food were left out on the porch with the light on, and still nothing.   

Rescue contacts encouraged the family to fan out efforts, resulting in a sighting in Westlake. A humane, large dog trap was delivered to Westlake Police, but Brutus sightings were not consistent enough to set the trap. Cue a clever beagle lover, who considered how search and rescue canines work and suggested the family hang out laundry and create a scent trail home.

Brutus's mom, Darcy Pullman, left recently worn T-shirts and some pillow cases on the porch and took Brutus's absolute favorite, dirty socks, and shredded a pair and hung them on low lying bushes and some even higher to create a trail from home to the last known sighting in Westlake along the tracks as a lure for that famous beagle nose.

Six brutal days and nights on the Westlake-Bay Village border, with a couple of sightings just south of the tracks, countless calls to police departments with updates and to make sure no dogs had been reported hit by a car. The scarce sightings made the family think their little dog would never come home and the family prepared for permanent heartache. Then on July 5 when all the fireworks and festivities were over, he came out of hiding. He was spotted going eastbound then westbound on Detroit close to Columbia, then on Clague, and in and out of King James at least twice. He appeared very skinny, limping and mouth swollen.
Dodging multiple near-hits by cars, blowing horns and screeching brakes, Brutus managed to bolt up driveways and of course pick houses without fences or open garages. The Pullman family caught up to him at an intersection and jumped out of the car, screaming "Brutus, we love you, come here."

The glazed look in his eyes indicated he did not know his family, and he disappeared into Clague Park, not to be seen for another six hours. A sighting at Westlake High School and prevailing breeze made the scent to home really strong, strong enough to get him on the other side of the tracks where he belonged and down Lincoln Road – but no one greeted him when he arrived. His family was still out searching for him – but luckily the neighbors spotted him, alerted the Pullmans and the biggest, best beagle reunion happened. 

His family could not believe it! He was skin and bone, smelled like wildlife, with paws bloody from running. Remarkably, his vet check was good, no walks for a bit yet and working on gaining some weight.
Brutus is happy to be home, glad his dog bed is back in the house and that mom brought back all of the dirty laundry.

What I think Brutus did on his 6-day adventure

by Annabelle Pullman, age 10

Brutus took off at the sound of thunder and got turned around in the rain. He ran, reacting to the noises, and finally hunkered down and fell asleep.

Day 2: Brutus woke up and went in search for food. He didn’t find food but he found some chipmunks to chase! Next he found a creek for water to cool down and a shady spot to nap for the rest of the day.

Day 3: When he woke up he realized he was not in his bed and walked around to figure out where he was. He was easily distracted by the wilderness animals to play chase which made him tired.

Day 4: When he woke up he went back to the creek for cool water and searched for food. He got lucky – leftover snacks dropped by people. Yummy bits of burger! Not easy with horns honking, bright lights, people yelling. So he ran. He found a nice yard and curled up on a chair.

Day 5: People! He took off, wandering strange streets looking for home. When he saw people they seemed scary so he kept running till his paws hurt and he rested.

Day 6: He didn’t want to get up but he had to get home. Cars honking, chased by strangers again. WAIT! Something smells familiar this time. He had to turn around, he was on to something! His little body hurt but his beagle nose got a whiff! He made his way across town, careful to stay out of the way of cars, and made it to the tracks and then on to home.

It’s good to have a beagle nose!

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Volume 6, Issue 15, Posted 9:41 AM, 07.22.2014