It's been over a year since Arkansas resident Melanee Lundquist last saw Ms. Beasley, the shy, skittish 7-year-old Labradoodle she had raised since the dog was a tiny puppy.
Now the dog has been found in Lookout Valley, just outside Chattanooga, and Ms. Lundquist is here trying to catch her and take her back home.
It won’t be easy.
The story began on Jan.
1, 2019, when Ms. Lundquist’s cousin – Chickamauga resident Rachel Noble – brought Ms. Beasley to her home to take care of her while her cousin dealt with an emergency.
“The very next day I took her out in the yard to go to the bathroom,” Mrs. Noble said, “and she jumped over the fence and ran away.”
Had her cousin been here when the incident happened, she said, she could have called Ms. Beasley and the Labradoodle probably would have run right back to her. But Ms. Lundquist was on her way back to Arkansas; her frightened, disoriented dog ignored Mrs. Noble’s calls and just kept running.
Almost fourteen months later, despite photos of the dog plastered to telephone poles throughout Chickamauga and numerous messages on Facebook asking whether anybody had seen her, Ms. Beasley was still missing.
That’s when a resident of Lookout Valley -- more than 16 miles away – posted a photo on Facebook asking whether anybody knew anything about a frightened stray dog that had been roaming the streets there for about a year.
“Does anyone know ANYTHING about this stray pup that is always on Brown’s Ferry?” the woman wrote ten days ago.
“I see this poor thing every morning and tried to at-least give it some treats this morning. He/she won’t even let me come near. It’s so matted and it breaks my heart!”
The post, accompanied by a photo of a dejected, badly matted black dog went viral. Last Wednesday, a friend familiar with Mrs. Noble’s long search for her cousin’s dog, sent her a screen shot of it.
The dog looked like Ms. Beasley.
“There is only about 30 to 45 minutes between Chickamauga and (Lookout Valley),” Mrs. Noble mused. “What if . . . ?”
She forwarded the message on to her cousin in Arkansas, who looked at the photos and immediately began planning a trip to Chattanooga.
Since Thursday morning, Mrs. Noble has been a fixture in Lookout Valley. Virtually everybody she’s talked to there has seen the dog for the past nine months to a year, and many of them have been putting out food and trying to catch her. They have told her that the dog has developed an irregular route – garbage cans at McDonald’s, gas stations, vacant houses, Brown’s Ferry Road Church of Christ ,and points in between – that she follows almost daily in search of food and shelter.
After all those months, Mrs. Noble said, “Beasley still has not trusted anybody enough to let them touch her.”
She and her cousin, who arrived here Friday, are hoping to change that. They’ve been sitting on parking lots at places the dog is known to go, hoping to spot her and make contact. They’ve been in touch with McKamey Animal Services, which brought a large trap and set in up in an area where the dog is believed to stay, baiting it with food in the hope she will go inside so she can be caught.
They’ve seen Ms. Beasley repeatedly, making her rounds.
“Beasley is starting to recognize (Melanee) but is still sooooo skittish,” Mrs. Noble reported to the hundreds of animal lovers who have been following the search on Our Walker County, Lost and Found Pets of Walker County, Ringgold Lost and Found Pets, and other Facebook sites.
No luck so far, but they’re not giving up. And they’re asking for help. Now that the dog’s owner is here and has confirmed the dog is Ms. Beasley, according to Mrs. Noble, they’re hoping to keep from spooking her more.
“Thank you so much for all the support,” she told Facebook followers. “Thank you so much for all the support and help and energy and prayers . . . Don’t try to approach her if you see her. Call Mel and let her know where you have your eye on her.”
Anybody who sees Ms. Beasley is asked to text (423)314-6713.