Lost Dog: Diva's Story
by Carie Broecker
Divot, a gorgeous four-year-old Miniature Pinscher, had the adventure of a lifetime after darting out of the yard from her new home and heading out into the Fort Ord wilderness in Seaside, California.
Divot is a precocious, strong-willed dog, as many Min Pins are. She had been surrendered to Animal Friends Rescue Project (AFRP) by her former family as the result of a divorce; neither partner ended up with a stable enough living environment to include their beloved and spoiled baby girl, Divot.
Divot had been living with her foster parents, John and Monica, for two months when, on Sunday April 5, 2009, a couple met her and wanted to adopt her. They were smitten, and John and Monica delivered her to her new home and bid her a bittersweet farewell.
Within a few hours the celebration of Divot finding a new home would give way to worry and despair. Monica’s phone rang. Divot had escaped!
Being a determined and mischievous Min Pin, Divot took the first opportunity she could to wiggle through a crack in the front door and run off either looking for her foster parents or just looking for adventure.
Her adopters lived right on the edge of acres and acres of vast wilderness that once had been the Fort Ord Army base. It is an impressive expanse of land, much of it off-limits to the public due to unexploded ordnance. It was a daunting thought knowing Divot was out amongst the bobcats, coyotes, and possibly even mountain lions. Finding her out there would be like finding a needle in a haystack.
John and Monica and her adopters headed out immediately searching for Divot. They had to get special permission to search in unauthorized locations. They hiked the trails and fire roads for hours calling for Divot, whistling, and letting their own dogs run the trails hopefully enticing her out of hiding or in the right direction. As the sun began to set and the bright April day turned to a cold, dark, night, they kept searching into the darkness. After several hours, heartbroken, they headed home.
At home they printed dozens of posters and the next day they posted them all over the nearby communities of Seaside and Marina. Divot’s story was posted on Craig’s List and in the “Lost” section of the local newspaper. Volunteers helped search and post flyers.
The first Divot sighting came in from a mountain biker. He had spent an hour trying to get her to come to him, but she would not. Divot was not normally a shy or fearful dog, but she was frightened enough from the night on her own that she would not trust a stranger and stayed just out of arm’s reach.
The sighting gave John and Monica hope. They knew she was still in the vicinity, still alive, and they focused their search efforts in the area where she had been spotted. Then another sighting report came in from a BLM employee. He had seen Divot on one of the fire roads. Another full day of searching ensued, from dawn to dusk, but still no Divot. Losing hope, but not willing to give up, Monica and John headed home for a restless night’s sleep and would head out again, the next day for another day of searching.
Early in the morning on day three, a call came in from someone who had sighted Divot in Marina, the small town that borders the Fort Ord property. If she was moving out of the wilderness and into town, there was a good chance there would be more sightings.
Divot’s previous guardians arrived in town to help with the search.
It was day four of searching the wilderness areas and the city streets. Everyone tried to hold thoughts of hope for finding Divot alive and well, but each passing day brought a little less optimism. Monica could not bear the thought of what Divot was going through—fear, confusion, fatigue, hunger, and thirst.
After a few hours of searching on day four, Monica had to go home to take a much-needed nap. As she dozed off, the phone rang. A man calling from Marina said Divot was in his driveway! There was a flyer for a lost dog posted on the telephone pole right near his house, he was practically looking at the flier then looking at Divot, and it was a match! She would not let him close enough to pick her up.
Monica immediately called her previous guardian, who was already very near the address where Divot was found. She arrived on the scene in minutes, and although Divot had not seen her in two months, she ran right to her and was showered with hugs and kisses and tears of joy and relief. Monica showed up shortly thereafter and Divot had another ecstatic reunion with a loved one.
Divot is now a permanent member of John and Monica’s family and her new name is Diva. She travels all around the country with John and Monica and their little pack of dogs. She loves to hike, but now she stays close to her family and does not wander off on her own adventures.