This is the message that came in from BRAT-help on July 27th that started it all:
I learned via a third party on facebook that a basenji has been picked up by the Cumberland County (NJ) Animal Control people. Their phone number is 856-691-1500. I was a volunteer with Springer Spaniel rescue and thought of you right away, thought you’d want to know. I hope you can help this dear little dog.
Then came the Petfinder ad:
Small Adult Male Dog
More About Sebastian
Sebastian is a seven year old, neutered Basenji. He is very shy in new situations but warms up nicely once he feels secure. Sebastian is best suited to a home without cats or small children. Basenjis are a very unique breed of dog and will require an owner with extensive breed knowledge or previous Basenji experience.
Hi Roberta -
Sorry for the delay in responding to you - it's been a little crazy around here and we've just done a raid on a house that ended up landing 55 animals on our hands.
In NJ we're required to give the owner 7 days to claim the animal. He's now past that time, and at this point no one has called. We were slightly surprised by this since he's neutered and microchipped (chip isn't registered). We've held out a few more days hoping that someone will come looking for him. Right now the little Basenji guy is okay... he's been health checked and vaccinated. He's actually be put up in our adoption area and we have a junior volunteer working with him daily (he's not thrilled in the kennel but loves to go for long walks). Normally we attempt to place an animal first through our facility unless there is a specific issue that makes us uncomfortable with placing the dog, but we are starting to get a little tight on space around here.
I know BRAT well and we have worked with you in the past with this wonderful little breed - I'll try to call you tomorrow by phone. I have a 609 area code if you see it come up on your caller ID
Thanks for reaching out about this little fellow, and thanks for doing what you do... it makes the lives of shelter dogs better. Talk to you soon,
It was still a few more weeks before I could confirm that the shelter would actually release Sebastian to BRAT, find a foster home and plan a transport to get him there. But on Friday, September 10, Sebastian was picked up from the shelter and began the journey to his foster home in Maine which eventually led him home. Not to a new, "forever" home, but back to the family who loved him.
...going from CT to MA...
Coming from a shelter, Sebastian didn't really have any belongings. There some paperwork showing a microchip ID#. It haunted Heather that this nice dog could have a family out there, somewhere, who was missing him. She began the process of tracking them down, not an easy task since the chip had never been activated.
Heather was able to find out that Sebastian came from a puppy store who was supplied by Hunte Corp. Someone at Hunte Corp. was able to provide the name of the person who bought the puppy, but that was in 2002. Would the same people still have owned him? Could he have been given away or otherwise re-homed? If the same people owned him, would they still be living in the same home? It took some time and detective work, but Heather was able to locate Sebastian's family. His name was not Sebastian, of course. That was the name the shelter gave him. He's Charlie!
Charlie had gotten lost when he slipped his collar on a potty break returning home from visiting relatives. He was far from home. Owners Kelly and John were frantic, but it was late and they had 2 young children to tend to. They had to go home without Charlie. Kelly kept returning to the area, hoping to find Charlie. She checked around area shelters as best she could, coming up with nothing. Then her computer crashed and her best means of finding Charlie was lost...
Thank you to Cait Reynolds in DE, for pulling "Sebastian" from the shelter and getting him on his way. To Mary Silva in NJ, for her part in the transport. To Ricardo Ramos, also in NJ, who provided food and lodging overnight on 9/10 and continued the transport the next day. To Colleen Casey in CT, Liz Curran in MA, Sally & Chuck Cobb in NH who all participated in the transport. HUGE thanks to Heather Stanton in Portland, ME who gave "Sebastian" a temporary home, lots of TLC and reunited CHARLIE with his family! The one he was meant to be with.