Search for missing pup unites community

The community came together in support of Billie and Josie Evans as they searched three weeks for their missing Italian greyhound, Armani. Miraculously, he was found and has returned to good health, happy to be home with his parents. Photo credit: The Evans family

The community came together in support of Billie and Josie Evans as they searched three weeks for their missing Italian greyhound, Armani. Miraculously, he was found and has returned to good health, happy to be home with his parents. Photo credit: The Evans family

SHEILA A. MATHEWS :::

Two weeks, six days, 23 hours and 57 minutes – three minutes shy of three weeks, but that period of time that Armani, the Italian greyhound belonging to Billy and Josie Evans was missing, seemed a heartbreaking lifetime.

Billy Evans said his family’s experience began with what was a routine chore – checking the mailbox – but it soon became something that touched the hearts of thousands in the community.

“I usually come home and take the dog out when I check the mailbox. It’s only a 50-foot walk and he’s very timid; he never runs away,” he said.

On Dec.11, though, a neighbor’s dog approached the pair and Armani, who Billy describes as timid, did the unthinkable – he ran away in fear.

“When I got the other dog back to our neighbor, Armani was gone,” he said.

He and neighbors searched the area for hours with no success in finding the family’s beloved pet, a rescue from a breeder. It was then that Billy took to local social media sites in their search for Armani.

A search and rescue dog was brought in and information obtained was posted on the Spalding County Discussion Page, updating thousands who were also keeping an eye out for the Evans’ missing pet.

Hundreds of fliers were posted throughout town and thousands of automated phone calls were placed in the hope that someone would see Armani and return him to his family.

“We went on wild goose chases for two weeks,” Billy Evans said, all the while, wondering if Armani could survive much longer. “Half the time, it was freezing at night, we had rain storms and even a tornado that came through. It was an emotional rollercoaster, but every time we got a call, we searched. Whenever we received a call, we dropped what we were doing and went.”

From the beginning, Billy and Josie were touched by the outpouring of support the received from the community, with hundreds offering prayers and actively participating in the search and rescue effort.

“It definitely made us feel welcome in the community. The overwhelming support from people who were willing to help us search for Armani was incredible,” he said. “What makes people go out at 11 o’clock at night and search for our dog? We found the support and care overwhelming.”

In the end, it was a gentleman who, despite the Evans’ best efforts, was unaware of Armani’s plight that placed a miraculous phone call.

The Evans heard of a dog that was seen eating cat food from a family’s deck, but the man later called back and apologized, saying it was a mistake – it was a different dog.

However, on Dec. 11, only one day later, the man called again and said he believed it was, indeed, Armani who was pilfering kitty food.

Extremely frightened and weak, having lost one-third of his body weight during his ordeal, Armani was very hesitant, but with much coaxing, finally ran and jumped in his human’s lap.

“It was a relief. The nightmare and stress, it was over,” Billy said. “I just didn’t think he’d make it.”

Armani has now regained most of the weight he lost while living in the shadows of Potato Creek, and has returned to his former self, playing and loving life with Billy and Josie.

“It’s amazing,” Billy said. “He was gone three weeks. What are the odds of that happening?”

With loving parents and a community willing to help, fate was on Armani’s side.

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Comments

  1. Beautiful story. Thank you

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