Wayward dog reunited with owner after 16 months lost

Pet caught, returned after being missing 16 months

“I think it all shows you to never give up hope. Anything can happen. I’m so happy she’s back.” Brandon farrar, dog owner

Brandon Farrar’s dog gone days are gone.

Six months after Sierra went missing, any remaining hope Farrar had of seeing his dog again had all but faded away.

“I was heartbroken. I looked and looked. I would get phone calls about possible sightings but it was always a letdown, and after about six months, that was it,” Farrar, 28, said.

Farrar’s 5-year-old, black and brown-striped female boxer, Sierra, disappeared from his Baton Rouge office on Sept. 10, 2011.

Farrar said he would keep his pets, Sierra and her mother, Dakota, in a fenced-in pen while he worked as a project manager at General Engineering and Environmental Companies off Industriplex Boulevard.

Somehow, Sierra managed to get out of the pen one day and disappeared.

On Sunday afternoon, 16 months after Farrar last laid eyes on his dog, he was reunited with Sierra at the East Baton Rouge Parish Animal Control Center.

The beginning of the reunion started when people recently reported seeing a scared-looking dog hanging around the Interstate 10 and Interstate 12 split.

“People saw this dog at the split,” East Baton Rouge Parish Animal Control and Rescue Center Director Hilton Cole said. “They saw it go up and down the Essen Lane area and around Our Lady of the Lake Medical Center.”

Valerie Hoffman, of Gonzales, and her 29-year-old daughter, Jessica Wood, were driving down I-10 toward the split on Jan. 6 when they spotted Sierra between the interstate and the curb, around the exit to I-12, heading toward Hammond.

“The dog was eating or picking at some trash on the ground and it was pouring rain,” Hoffman said.

Hoffman said she and her daughter feared the dog was going to run into traffic and get hit and killed, so she pulled off to the side and they tried to rescue the dog. But Sierra wound up running off into the woods near the exit, Hoffman said.

Hoffman immediately posted a description of the dog and its location on a Facebook page called, Lost Pets of Baton Rouge.

Hoffman said she also called Cole on Jan. 8 and told the animal control center director about the dog. She said Cole told her to call him back if she saw the dog again.

The next day, on Jan. 9, Hoffman saw on the lost pet Facebook page that someone else had just spotted the missing dog near the split. Hoffman called Cole, who sent out one of his animal control and rescue center officers to set up a humane trap with dog food inside to rescue the dog.

The next morning, Cole called Hoffman and told her they had caught the dog in the trap.

“It was amazing. I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t stop worrying about the dog being out in the weather with the rain and freezing weather,” Hoffman said.

One of the administrators of the lost pets Facebook page, Allison Claudet, had been monitoring all the activity on the page about the dog people saw on the interstate.

Claudet had also been periodically following Farrar’s search for Sierra via messages on Fidofinder.Com.

Claudet, who didn’t know Farrar personally, had called Farrar six or seven times during the 16 months Sierra was missing to tell him about possible sightings of his dog.

None of those led to a reunion however, Claudet said.

When Claudet read Hoffman’s post about the missing dog near the interstate, she remembered the description Farrar put out on Sierra and it seemed to match the description of the interstate dog.

When later postings on the Facebook page confirmed the dog was a female, Claudet sent Farrar’s Fidofinder.Com photo of Sierra to animal control officials.

In a text, Claudet said she wrote, ‘Is this the dog?’ Animal control responded, ‘It sure looks like it.’

Claudet then contacted Farrar to give him the news.

Farrar, who had been working in Alabama when the pieces of the puzzle were put in place, went to Animal Control on Sunday to pick up Sierra.

“I walked in, talked to a case worker and they took me to where Sierra was,” Farrar said.

His heart racing, Farrar said, he looked at the dog and knew.

“She came right up to me. I taught Sierra how to sit and shake, and she did both right there,” Farrar said.

Cole said the dog, who had been tired and not very excitable after it had been rescued, started jumping all around when she saw Farrar.

Farrar said he is still shocked that someone found his dog after all that time.

“I think it all shows you to never give up hope. Anything can happen. I’m so happy she’s back,” Farrar said.