By Nicole Shue
Watson, a black chow chow, was recently reunited with her family after missing for 12 days in freezing temperatures.
The dog went missing on Feb. 10 from its home on Whitcomb Road in Fulton. Watson’s owner had adopted the dog a few weeks prior from the Chow Chow Rescue of CNY. As he was opening his front door to get his mail, Watson escaped.
The owner’s daughter, Cindy Stone, founder of the volunteer rescue group), began a search for the dog that lasted nearly two weeks.
With below-zero temperatures, the thought that Watson may not come home crossed Stone’s mind, but she remained positive. In January, she rescued a chow chow from Oneida Lake with a snowmobile.
Stone’s brother- and sister-in-law checked the live animal trap they had set for Watson every day, and a call was also sent out through a Pet Amber Alert messaging system, but there was still no sign of it.
Stone’s family also set up two trail cameras, meant for deer, on the Oswego River where there were sightings of her. However, with the continual snowfall, the cameras weren’t much help, Stone said.
“The neighbors where Watson was believed to be hiding out were phenomenal in letting us set up our trap and cameras on their property,” said Stone.
Through following her tracks, Stone knew that Watson was crossing the Oswego River and staying on the ice.
Stone called her friend Amy, who lives in Georgia, for her help. Amy, Watson’s breeder, flew to New York to help Stone in her efforts to find Watson.
Finally, on Feb. 22, they were able to rescue Watson. It was 20 degrees and sunny that day. Stone spotted Watson under a boathouse on the Oswego River just north of Aspen Cove. She was pacing in and out of the boathouse, nervous and scared. It took 20 minutes to trudge through the snow to get to the dog, Stone said.
Amy threw hot dogs to Watson to entice her to come out of the boathouse on her own. With Watson not cooperating, Amy then tried to loop a lead around the dog’s neck, but missed. Luckily it still caught Watson by the foot, and Amy pulled her to safety.
“Once she came out of the boathouse she was licking Amy’s face,” said Stone. “I was so excited and relived to see her. We were all happy she was a black dog on white snow.”
After being out in the elements for 12 days, Watson had only two little patches of frostbite on her top lip. Her left front paw had a cut from either a bite or stepping on a nail, Stone said. She had lost eight pounds, but was otherwise healthy.
For the time being, Watson is living at Stone’s home in Brewerton with her other chow chows. Watson, she describes, is “as sweet as pie,” adjusting well, and enjoys the company of other dogs.
The Chow Chow Rescue of CNY is a volunteer rescue group that is dedicated to finding homes for purebred chow chows. The rescue is run through the support of volunteers and foster homes. At any given time, the rescue has 35 to 50 dogs waiting for their forever homes.