It’s long been said that man’s best friend is his dog, and one guy in Clarksburg, WV is living proof that it’s true. When his six- year old Boxer Chong went missing recently, Todd, a student at Fairmont State, offered a large reward for the return of his beloved dog. He offered his car. I happened to be in Clarksburg on Monday and noticed his DOG MISSING flyer in the James Law Stationery store downtown. I was so touched by his earnest plea, that I took a photo of the flyer and posted it on my Facebook page. Then I decided to call him to see if I could help.
Todd was out of town when Chong was in the care of his brother Shawn. Dogs get lost in a second, and when Shawn opened the door, something got Chong’s attention and off he went. He was wearing a black collar, but unfortunately it didn’t have an ID tag. Returning home to the news, Todd was devastated. He immediately printed this poster that caught my attention and with Shawn’s help, pretty much blanketed Clarksburg with it.
Like many Pet Parents, Chong was more than a dog to Todd and his brother. Difficult family situations had bonded the three of them and their life together had not been easy, but without Chong, it was bleak. Their Mom purchased the dog for them when he was a puppy, about 4 years earlier. Sadly, Chong too came from less than an ideal family situation. All of his other littermates were traded for prescription pills. When Chong was not quite a year old, the boy’s Mother returned from California, and the boys along with Chong were loaded in the car for a road trip to the west coast.
They made it as far as Kentucky when the car broke down. One woman, two boys, one dog and no way to get to California…until a stranger bought all of them airline tickets. Todd, Shawn, and Chong soon discovered that family differences and homesickness were leading them to return to West Virginia. With no money, the three of them took off and hitchhiked all the way back to Clarksburg. The bond between the two brothers and their dog was cemented for life. That’s why Todd didn’t hesitate when offering his car for the reward…nothing meant more than getting Chong back. Somewhere on that trip, Chong became so much more than a dog; the boys call him the third brother.
Days went by and Todd searched endlessly for Chong. He hardly slept; he couldn’t eat. How could a 65 pound dog completely disappear? Todd was in deep despair thinking his best friend was gone forever. He saw Chong in his memories doing the things he loved so much; swimming, walking, sleeping on his bed. A favorite toy, a rubber duck remained motionless and silent on the floor without Chong . Then Todd got THE call. Someone knew where Chong was and was willing to show Todd. Without hesitation, he met the person and followed him to a woman’s house. She had seen the posters, but she had no intention of returning Chong. She was going to keep him. After showing the woman the poster, and a lengthy conversation, plus $50.o0 she decided to hand the dog over, and Chong went home with the brothers.
It sounds unbelievable, but Todd decided to sell the car anyway to have money for a huge welcome home party for Chong. Although it wasn’t much, a 1999 Chevy Prism, it was all he had, but he’d already accepted that he’d give the car in return for Chong, so he sold it to fund the party. They bought decorations and put them up all over their apartment. The party lasted an entire day. Chong received a cake, new toys, and was allowed to eat as much as he wanted of his favorite people food.
There’s a story behind every “Lost or Missing Dog” poster. A story of a human who has bonded with a dog who is essential to their life, happiness, and well-being. There are people who won’t understand this. I do. It was more than a lost pet being found; it was the return of a soul mate. A spirit in the form of a wonderful dog that has become a vital part of life for Todd and Shawn. Todd told me that when Chong was gone, “it pretty much messed up my world….would have definitely given up college to get him back.” I get it. Many of you reading this get it. These guys are used to hard times. They support themselves and recently lost grass cutting jobs when the company was sold. Todd is a student at Fairmont State studying Petroleum Engineering and Shawn hopes to go to college. Todd has another goal though…to study dog behavior and become a trainer. They’ll make it…the three brothers together.