Patches, the little lost dog who escaped a Sacramento-area pet boarding business, wagged his tail in greeting during an emotional reunion with his owner at the Sacramento SPCA.
The 4-year-old Jack Russell terrier owes his rescue to a too-close encounter with a vehicle on South Watt Avenue early Thursday morning and to the caring motorists who stopped and came to his aid.
Among them was Nathan Cinder, a Sacramento SPCA employee.
Cinder said it was still dark out when he noticed vehicles ahead of him coming to a stop and a truck veer off to the side. He feared a bicyclist might have been hit, but then saw the little dog tumble on the roadway. Cinder said he and other motorists corralled the dog and one man gave Cinder his coat so he could pick up the animal.
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The dog was wearing a collar identifying him as Patches, and upon arrival at the SPCA on Florin-Perkins Road, a microchip confirmed his identity.
“Hi baby. Hi baby,” tearful owner Roxanne Ullman said Thursday afternoon as she embraced Patches, the rescue dog she adopted when he was 3 months old.
“I’m so grateful to have him back,” Ullman said. “I was trying not to give up hope the entire time.”
Ullman, a Fairfield resident who was visiting Sacramento for a wedding last month learned Patches had escaped from a pet day care and boarding facility. Since then, the search has been on for the dog as Ullman and her fiancé, Brian Cudahy, spread the word through fliers, social media and local news media.
Ullman said she heard from “a lot of wonderful people who looked for him,” including some who thought they had found him.
Cudahy estimated Patches was found about 5 1/2 miles from the Sacramento Pet Resort and Spa at 6083 Power Inn Road, where he was last seen Oct. 22. How he survived for 12 days remains a mystery.
Laurie Siperstein-Cook, the veterinarian who treated Patches at the SPCA after his rescue Thursday, said the dog had a minor pelvic fracture, which would heal with rest. He also had scrapes on his legs and burrs in his coat.
Siperstein-Cook said Patches had food in his stomach, so someone either fed him or he found food on his own.
Patches would be dining on chicken and rice Thursday evening, Cudahy said.
Ullman earlier said she had arranged for Patches to stay at the Sacramento Pet Resort and Spa, and Cudahy dropped him off at the facility Oct. 21. The business advertises boarding, day care and grooming services for pets.
Cudahy said he called about 10 a.m.. Oct. 22 to check on Patches and was told that staff members would have to call him back. When he received a return call about a half-hour later, he was told Patches was missing.
The news devastated Ullman and Cudahy.
Ullman said she was told that Patches and other dogs were placed in a fenced outdoor play area about 8 a.m. Two other dogs got in a fight, and while staff members were breaking up the fight, Patches escaped through the fence.
Shauna Verkade, a co-owner of Sacramento Pet Resort and Spa, said in a phone interview last month, that there was about a 1 1/2 -inch gap at the corner of the chain-link fence. Patches, perhaps frightened by the fighting dogs, was able to pull the fence up enough to slip under it, she said.
The business had offered a $1,000 reward for Patches’ return, and pet resort owners delivered the reward to Cinder on Thursday, said SPCA spokeswoman Dawn Foster.
SPCA staff members were able to quickly reunite Patches with his owner because he had both a collar with identification tags and was outfitted with a microchip, Foster said. She urged pet owners to microchip their dogs and cats, noting that the SPCA provides the service for $25.