By Doug Ireland
---- — HAMPSTEAD — Animal control officer Sheila Johannesen is happy any time a lost pet is reunited with its owner.
So, when she received a call last week from a man in Ohio who thought his missing dog had been found and was being kept at a Hampstead kennel, Johannesen was optimistic.
So was Barret Paust, who drove approximately 1,000 miles over several days in search of Chewie, his 10-year-old German shepherd mix.
Paust was visiting the area on business Jan. 17 when he left Chewie out while staying at The Red Roof Inn in Salem.
He said he fell asleep and woke up an hour later to find Chewie gone, leaving him heartbroken. He had Chewie since she was a puppy, Johannesen said.
Paust saw an online photo of a dog he believed was Chewie on the Granite State Dog Recovery website. An excited Paust arrived at Carol’s Grooming and Kennels on Saturday, hoping for a reunion with his longtime pet.
But there was no happy ending; the German shepherd wasn’t his beloved Chewie.
Now, Johannesen is on a mission to find the owner of the dog at Carol’s, where owner Carol Etscovitz is caring for the lost pet.
“It’s sad, “ Johannesen said yesterday. “He’s on his way back to Ohio and we still have a dog looking for its owner. But he has not given up looking for her. I’ve never had someone come 1,000 miles looking for their dog.”
The dog at Carol’s — like Chewie — is a female and approximately 10 years old, Johannesen said.
She was found March 28 outside Acropolis Pizza, Johannesen said. Although the dog was in good condition, she desperately needed a bath, the animal control officer said.
Johannesen said if she can’t find the owner this week, she will put the dog up for adoption through a German shepherd rescue league.
But Johannesen hopes someone steps forward before then to claim their lost pet.
“We would like to get her back to her owner,” she said.