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A month later, dog reunites with family

She mysteriously turned up 40 miles from home
By: Lien Hoang, The Press Tribune
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When Melissa Poland got a call from Roseville’s Animal Control on Saturday, she braced herself for the worst: had her dog died after she went missing in December? Had Nevada been hit by car? Instead, she learned that officers found her family’s Labrador retriever, albeit 30 pounds lighter. To confirm, they texted her a photo, which she showed to her son. He cried at recognizing the graying black fur. “Oh she was so happy to see us,” Poland said of picking up Nevada. “She was jumping up and whining, and it’s not like her to whine.” The reunion ended an ordeal that lasted almost exactly one month. On Dec. 9, the Yuba City family let Nevada out into their backyard, not realizing a gate was left open. The 7-year-old vanished, sending her family on a search that involved neighborhood drives, fliers on mailboxes, calls to veterinarians and Craigslist posts. The same day, Animal Control spotted the frightened dog near Fiddyment Road and Blue Oaks Boulevard in northwest Roseville, but couldn’t get close enough to catch her. On Friday, a city employee saw Nevada in the same area, near the Roseville-Rocklin border. Animal Control’s dog trap – a metal cage baited with food – failed the first day, so officer Laura Morin took over on Saturday. She noticed Nevada under a tree, set the box nearby and waited out of sight for a half hour. “I think she was just ready to give up,” Morin said after Nevada – who had lost 30 pounds – finally went for the food. Assuming she’d caught a stray, Morin was surprised to find Nevada equipped with a microchip linked to Poland’s veterinarian. She waited for the doctor to track down the actual owner. But what ultimately guaranteed a reunion was Poland’s Craigslist ad. Finding the posting, Morin called the number listed, and after some verification, the owners were en route. Nevada seemed to be in the loop, Morin said. While she was on the phone, the dogs’ ears perked up, and she recognized the sound of Poland’s car as soon as she pulled up. “It was hard not to cry,” Morin said of seeing the family laugh and hug for the first time in a month. They never did figure out how Nevada got so far from home. Her collar was missing, and they assumed she’d been picked up, considering the highway and 40 miles that separate Yuba City and Roseville. After the confusion with the microchip, Morin made sure to update its information so that anyone who found Nevada would get her back to the Polands. Roseville police said on their Web site that the happy ending highlights two lessons for pet owners: first, that “microchipping pets is a great idea,” and second, that “Craigslist and other classified pet bulletin boards work.” Now back home with her family, Nevada just spent the first couple days sleeping, Poland said, but she has started to eat again. Friends have been dropping by to see the Lab, and the four children – age 8 to 15 – have been arguing over who gets to share a bed with her. Nevada was a gift to the oldest, Cody, before his surgery for cerebral palsy seven years ago, and she has been around for nearly the entire life of the youngest, Samantha. “She was like another one of the kids,” Poland said. Lien Hoang can be reached at lienh@goldcountrymedia.com.