After nine weeks of searching, an emotionally spent Robin Riggins had almost given up hope that she would ever see her family’s beloved German shepherd again.
On Nov. 26, the Mount Pleasant woman had dropped off 6-year-old Duke at a kennel in Ridgeville for safekeeping while she took a trip to California to visit her new grandson.
Duke, described by Riggins as skittish, escaped from the facility and had not been seen since.
Riggins would not give up searching. An unexpected phone call from a stranger Tuesday night revealed that her faith had not been in vain.
Jen Jones was certain that the frail dog who often limped back and forth in front of the McElveen auto dealership in Summerville had been loved once.
She called animal control and reached out to the dog whenever she saw him. She said her efforts were only met with flaring nostrils and teeth.
After McElveen employees saw him survive being hit by a car this week, Jones, who works at the dealership, said she made a mission of finding the dog’s owners.
Jones searched on Craigslist and found two families who were looking for lost German shepherds. One of the posts showed a happy, well-kept pet that looked just like the injured dog that sought refuge in the wooded area across from the lot.
She went with her gut and contacted the family that had created the post: the Riggins family.
Riggins immediately traveled to Summerville on the off chance that the wounded dog in Summerville, some 13 miles from Ridgeville, could be Duke.
They searched the wooded area late Tuesday, calling his name.
Riggins said her daughter was scared when the family heard something stir in the bushes. It was more likely that the sound came from a wild animal than Duke, she said.
But, much to their surprise, Duke appeared.
“At first he just stood there. I think he was just in shock that we were there. As soon as he realized it was us, he went crazy,” Riggins said.
Duke’s pelvis was broken in three places, and his hip was out of its socket from the wreck. Veterinarians have given him morphine to ease the pain until surgery, scheduled for today. He is expected to recover from the ordeal, Riggins said.
“The whole thing is amazing. I just can’t believe he was found,” Riggins said.