buddy in lost post
The photograph of Buddy that was posted by owner Alison McCauley on a neighborhood list-serve, then a dedicated website, after he went missing. Photo: Alison McCauley

It started as a story of a lost dog and a message posted on a neighborhood list-serve by its distraught owner. “Our dog Buddy escaped today from a friend’s house in Temescal,” wrote Alison McCauley on her local NextDoor board on Jan. 25. “He is a German Shepherd mix with white and brown coloring. He was wearing a blue and gray collar and is likely to be scared (he has stranger anxiety). Please call if you have seen him or have any additional information.”

But, as McCauley recounts below, it quickly became a story about community — one that involved the creation of a dedicated website, a Google “sightings map,” lots of advice and encouragement, and which ended with a gathering on Sunday, 15 days after Buddy disappeared, for a chance to meet the hero of the story, and to thank those who rallied to help find him.

Alison McCauley, writing on the website she set up to find Buddy, on Feb. 9:

On Monday, Jan. 25, Buddy left the house where he was staying while his mom was on a business trip. Fifteen days later his mom opened the front door to find him there.

What happened in between?

Buddy surely could tell of harrowing adventures, if he could talk. We know from calls that he ran three miles in an hour this morning, in front of cars and across busy and large streets. We know he was sprinting when he reached a spot about a half mile away from home. And we know this wasn’t his first day of running, fast. So fast that even with a dozen likely sightings over the last few weeks no one could get a photo. We don’t know much more.

But what we do know is a story of a community coming together to help a frightened, shy dog. People of all ages who had never met Buddy paused their lives. Put up flyers. Yelled his name ’till they were hoarse. Stayed up late to search, even multiple nights in a row. Carried cheese with them at all times. Found ways to reach more and more people to get the word out.

As a result of these efforts, over 3,500 people visited this site. Many, many more connected through a social media post or a flyer. And because of this, people all over both Oakland and Berkeley reached out to us. They told us, quickly, of sightings — we were close to him many times. They joined in the search. And importantly, they encouraged us and lifted us when we were losing hope.

Buddy came home. What we have wished for has happened. But oh have we found so, so much more. We’ve had the amazing honor of experiencing firsthand, in an intense two week time period, an outpouring of kindness, generosity and love of this community. We have deep gratitude for everyone that has been a part of this story, and are honored to be a part of this incredible community. Thank you.

Postscript: On Sunday Feb. 21, a group of about ten people, some with their pets, gathered in a local park to celebrate Buddy’s safe arrival home, and to meet him. Many of them had been involved in the search, and the get-together was organized on NextDoor after he returned home. McCauley said it was a beautiful day, and Buddy made several new dog friends. That night McCauley emailed Berkeleyside. “My favorite story from today is when one of the community members who had been following Buddy gave him the piece of cheese she had been carrying for him for weeks,” she wrote. “The actual piece! He loved it.”

Buddy was in a state of shock when he first came home. Photo: Alison McCauley
But five minutes later Buddy was happy to accept his first belly scratch. Photo: Alison McCauley
Buddy came home with his collar still on, and the tag with his owner’s telephone number attached. But the collar’s condition gives a clue of what he went through. Photo: Alison McCauley
Wyatt and Eleanor come home from school: this is what they wished for, but weren’t sure they would ever experience again. Photo: Alison McCauley
A visit to the vet: Buddy was shaking, so McCauley wanted to be sure there wasn’t something going on that she couldn’t see. He lost five pounds, and had a few scratches, but he was declared healthy. Photo: Alison McCauley
A joyous task: ripping down flyers, in sharp contrast with the sadness of putting them up. Photo: Alison McCauley
Buddy reunited with Alison McCauley and her children, Wyatt and Eleanor.. Photo: courtesy Alison McCauley

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