Dog psychology

A search in Surrey for a missing dog who can barely see or hear spanned 10 days — hundreds of flyers went up, volunteers combed the neighborhood, professional pet finders were hired, and bloodhounds hunted for clues. But 16-year-old Sheba was ultimately spotted and rescued by a couple who went to watch the sunset on the beach Saturday.

Sherri Storoshenko’s beloved pet went missing the night of April 1 when the family was packing their car for a camping trip.

“Within five minutes I was running around my neighborhood looking for her,” she Said.

“She’s nearly completely blind and deaf, so when she went missing, at 8:30 a night it made it very difficult to try and find her. I guess she couldn’t hear any of us calling for her.”

‘I’ve had her for her whole life, and she’s been my best friend for the whole time’

Neighbours, friends, and family rallied, searching the beaches and parks in the Ocean Park neighborhood but had no luck finding the pitbull-lab cross.

As the days dragged on Storoshenko’s hopes for a happy ending waned.

“In all honesty, I was starting to feel a little bit grim and defeated,” she says.

“I got her when she was 10 weeks old, I’ve had her for her whole life, and she’s been my best friend for the whole time. I have no kids, she is my child. Losing her was beyond heartbreaking.”

On Saturday evening, when she was driving home her phone would not stop buzzing.

“I finally pulled over because it just kept going off,” she says.

“I saw this text message and it said, ‘Hi, my name is Nicole and I found your dog Sheba tonight.

Storoshenko called the woman back — cautioning herself not to get too excited. But once the woman described the dog she had found, mentioning a cyst on Sheba’s eyelid, Storoshenko was convinced.

“I raced as fast as I could to meet her, she was in Ocean Park, and I broke down the second I saw her,” she says.

“As soon as I turn the corner and could see her there, I instantly just dropped to my knees and started bawling my eyes out. Then I guess I dove into their vehicle and just started hugging my dog and crying hysterically. I couldn’t believe it was her.”

‘I couldn’t believe it’

After Storoshenko composed herself, she learned the story of how the couple found her dog.

“When I caught my breath and started talking to them, they explained where they found her by the steps and carried her up,” she says.

“Where I live in Ocean Park there’s 1,001 steps and there’s a lot of cliffs that lead down to the ocean with not a lot of trails, it’s all just blackberry bushes and everything. So, we seached that as best as we could but nobody turned anything up. I guess she somehow went down there and got stuck in all the bushes for the last 10 days. The couple that was walking, they just, they saw the dog in a little bit of a clear spot of the bushes and they climbed into the bushes and carried her out. I couldn’t believe it.”

Then, while trying to plan their next moves, the couple spotted a nearby flyer taped to a post.

“Because it was raining previously a lot of it had bled, but she was still able to make out enough of the poster to see my phone number — so she was able to call me. I’m so glad they saw the poster.”

Sheba wasn’t injured but the ordeal had taken a toll.

“She was happy but she was so exhausted and dehydrated that she was very confused. I don’t think she quite understood what had happened to her,” Storoshenko says.

“The second I got her home, the first thing she did was just go and lay down on her bed. She just wanted to go to sleep.”

The dog spent the night at a 24-hour vet clinic and was given a clean bill of health. Storoshenko plans to pick her up Sunday evening — just in time to celebrate National Pet Day.

“I just went to the pet store and bought her a new collar, and a new name tag and some food and some treats. It’ll be a long night of cuddles.”

Storoshenko wants everyone who pitched in with the search, especially the couple who rescued Sheba to know how grateful she is.

“I want to thank Nicole and Cali so much for finding Sheba and taking the effort to go into the bushes and carry her all the way up. I honestly don’t know if she would have survived another day,” she says.

“It warms my heart how much the community banded together to look for this dog. They don’t even really know her, but it honestly, it means the world to me.”

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