Leigh’s Lost and Found: Who came to the rescue of a Shih Tzu lost for 10 days in the woods

Updated: May. 12, 2022 at 10:30 AM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - In today’s Leigh’s Lost and found, a 10 day ordeal for a tiny, seven pound dog.

Ellie was the runt of her litter, so she’s very small, even by Shih Tzu standards. So when she disappeared for more than a week, her family was starting to lose hope that she’d be found alive.

“She’s certainly isn’t the kind of dog that has the skills to be like, I can survive this.”

Stephanie Young spent more than a week, terrified her little Ellie wouldn’t survive after digging out of her fence.

She says, “she’s a seven pound house dog. This is a dog that’s not ever been on her own or anywhere but in my backyard.”

After posting Ellie on the Leigh’s Lost and Found page, Stephanie started getting some sightings. Those posts also got the attention of Rescue One.

“I was thinking about Ellie all the time. I was like, we just need a sighting and I can help this dog.”

Michele Rehkop is a trapper for the rescue organization.

“They’ll go in and once they step on this, it will trap them and then they’re in there.”

She reached out to Stephanie and offered her help.

Michele tells us, “I thought surely it’s not going to come to that. But days and days and days went by and probably by the fifth or sixth day, I really started to lose hope.”

On the eighth day of Ellie missing, they got a new sighting.

Stephanie says, “we received a message from a gentleman who had seen a dog. He said I think this may be your dog that’s coming in from a wooded area.”

Michele went there with her trap and spotted Ellie, who was in serious flight mode.

She says “everything is a threat. So they won’t come to their owner.”

She left the trap overnight, which attracted a hungry possum and a stray cat. Eventually, it got the attention of a starving Ellie.

Michele says, “from about midnight all the way to about six that morning, she was around that trap constantly because there was food inside. First thing in the morning, I got out there and opened it back up, put some food out and within two hours, she was in it.”

Stephanie says, “I just burst into tears.”

Stephanie rushed home from her job as principal of Delaware Elementary and met Michele in her garage, where they finally set Ellie free.

“As soon as they opened the door, she ran to me and her tail was wagging and she was home.”

Ellie had dropped to five pounds and was covered in ticks, even on her eyeballs. But with meds and a lot of TLC, she’s well on the road to recovery.

Michele tells us, “you’re so happy for the family, you’re so glad the dog is safe.”

And Stephanie is beyond thrilled.

“It was literally the happiest reunion I’ve ever had the chance to be a part of.”

Rescue One says it’s always a good idea to contact a professional trapper if your dog is lost and in flight mode and won’t come to you.

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