Luna, a deaf American bulldog mix, was found and returned to her owners in good health after she escaped her boarding pen at Shaker Veterinary Hospital in Latham, N.Y. on January 2, reports Omidog.com.
When the rescue dog ran away, Ralph and Shelley Rataul feared the worst for the family pet. Shelley posted an $800 reward, which consisted of their money, donations and a contribution from the Veterinary hospital, reports Albany's Times Union.
The 4-year-old dog was found when a couple discovered her in their backyard and recognized her from a story that appeared in the Times Union the previous week. They called the hospital after the frightened dog refused to go into their house.
The couple who found Luna refused both the money and recognition for their good deed. They said they'd like the reward to go to charity instead.
Rataul told the Times Union that half of the money will be donated to the ASPCA and the other half to the Mohawk Hudson Humane Society in the name of the couple who found Luna.
While it took a while for Luna to recognize Rataul when he came to the couple's backyard, once she realized it was him, the pooch leaped into the arms of her joyful owner.
"She's not an outdoors dog, not a hunting dog, but some instinctual stuff must have kicked in," Rataul told the Times Union about his dog's survival. Vets said Luna lost about 12 pounds during her nine-day flee.
Luna's escape didn't just affect her worried family. When word got around town that Luna disappeared from the hospital, 200 volunteers devoted their lunch breaks and after work hours to searching for her in woods, parks and even via Facebook.
Dee Deen's Tavern, a nearby eatery, left prime rib outside when they heard about the missing dog, reports the Times Union.
Security footage in the hospital revealed that Luna pushed open her crate and made it past three doors. Ken Wolfe, assistant director of the hospital told the Times Union it was the first time a dog has ever walked out the hospital door before. Wolfe says the hospital has now changed their locks.
As for Luna, the wandering dog will now sport her very own dog GPS.