Thursday, July 24, 2014

Ottawa boy finds lost dog, saves family’s Christmas

By CLINTON DICK, Herald Staff Writer | 12/23/2013

Comments on Prairie Paws Animal Shelter’s Facebook page call it a “Christmas blessing.”

Bonnie Luckey, Blackhawk, Colo., lost her Pomeranian, Lexie, last month while she and her husband, Don Magrel, were visiting Magrel’s sister, Dana Ohlmeier, in Ottawa for Thanksgiving.

Comments on Prairie Paws Animal Shelter’s Facebook page call it a “Christmas blessing.”

Bonnie Luckey, Blackhawk, Colo., lost her Pomeranian, Lexie, last month while she and her husband, Don Magrel, were visiting Magrel’s sister, Dana Ohlmeier, in Ottawa for Thanksgiving.

“On Nov. 30, my dog got out and just ran as fast as she could, and we couldn’t catch her,” Luckey said. “So, we put her information up on Prairie Paws’ [page] and people started getting sightings of her. Of course, a bunch of people tried to catch her and she was just too scared. She was out there for three weeks, and she’s a little 5-pound Pomeranian.”

Luckey said about 30 people in Ottawa attempted to catch the small dog without success, but in the end it was a 4-year-old boy who saved the day. Ben Wiley, Ottawa, was at a day care at 1038 S. Maple St., Ottawa, when the dog came up to him.

“We were just outside playing,” Michelle Fennell, who was running the day care, said “[Lexie] went right up to Ben. She wouldn’t come to me or my husband. She kind of just followed him right to the house. It is kind of funny because everyone was chasing her all over town, and she ended up being caught by a 4-year-old boy. Ben was so excited.”

After three weeks of not eating, the dog had dropped from her normal weight of about 5 pounds to 2 pounds, Luckey said. Once the dog was found, Prairie Paws, 3173 K-68, Ottawa, posted a photo of Lexie with Dana Ohlmeier and her son, Blake, before Ohlmeier took the dog back to Colorado.

Lexie now is healthy and back with Luckey and her family in Colorado for the holidays. The theory is that Lexie comfortably came up to Ben because of his similarities to Luckey’s 4-year-old son, both Luckey and Bonnie Wiley, Ben’s mother, said.

“The dog had come up and started pawing at Ben and wanted to play with him,” Wiley said. “Apparently, the dog’s owner was a blond-haired little boy, and my son has blond hair. She just wanted to play. She was so little and she thought [Ben] was her little boy.”

Luckey agreed and was thankful for Ben and all the help from the community after she and her husband had to leave Dec. 2 for home following the Thanksgiving holidays.

“I told [Wiley] she should be really proud of [Ben],” she said.

Luckey wasn’t the only one who was excited to reunite Lexie with her family. Ben is no newcomer to being separated from a family pet.

“He has a little miniature Yorkie of his own,” Wiley said. “[The dog] actually ran away right after we got him, so he knew that feeling of having a puppy, and then it being gone. He was really happy when he found out that the dog was [Luckey’s] little boy’s. He is really into superheroes, so he thought he was Spiderman [for saving the dog].”

PITCHING IN TO HELP

Superheroes come in all shapes and sizes, but another holiday hero came about three weeks ago in an unlikely form for Kay and Mike Towner, Ottawa.

On a Friday evening, Towner and her husband gave their dinner order to Coltyn Brunbaugh, 18, Ottawa, at Burger King, 601 E. 23rd St., Ottawa. After their order was taken, the Towners realized they mistakenly had not brought money with them to pay for the meal, Towner said. Instead of making the couple drive back home for their wallets, Brunbaugh paid for their meal out of his pocket.

“I heard them talking about how they didn’t have the money, and I didn’t want them to have to drive all the way back, so I just paid for it,” Brunbaugh said.

“I told him he didn’t have to do that, but he insisted and said he really wanted to,” Towner said. “He was so insistent. He said, ‘I really want to do this.’ He didn’t know me or my husband, and he definitely went above and beyond.”

The Towners later found enough money to pay for their meal after Mike Towner went back out to their vehicle, Kay Towner said. But Brunbaugh’s actions touched Towner deeply.

“It literally brought tears to my eyes,” she said. “I really want to go out and talk to his manager and do something for him for Christmas.”

For Towner, it was different than other recent experiences in town.

“My husband went to an ice cream place one day for lunch and he was short a penny and they wouldn’t let him have his food,” she said. “That happened two or three months ago.”

Brunbaugh’s actions reassured Towner of the good in people, especially around the holidays.

“I know there are a lot of good kids out there. Unfortunately we don’t hear about the good ones,” she said. “We hear about the ones who get into trouble. I know there are more good kids out there than bad kids.”

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