2007-05-31 / Letters to the Editor

Thanks for Anita Marie's return

As many of you may be aware, we adopted a chocolate labrador retriever named Anita Marie on March 17. Anita was initially found wandering in New Orleans in December, 2006, and was considered a "special needs" dog due to her extreme fear of humans. We picked up Anita Marie on March 17 and unfortunately she escaped from our care the following day. In turn, she had not had the time to get to know us as owners and her new home.

The purpose of this letter is to thank the many individuals involved in Anita Marie's eventual capture. No one person was the sole person responsible for her capture as it was truly a team effort.

Having read an article earlier this year in the Press about a local dog who was trained in search and rescue techniques, we knew of Jamestown resident LuAnn Botelho, and her bloodhound, Abby who had successfully found another lost local dog. We contacted Luann on Sunday, March 18, within two hours of losing Anita Marie. She immediately volunteered her time and energy in order to assist in Anita Marie's capture. As LuAnn is a school bus driver, she coordinated the distribution of hundreds of flyers to school children through her network. LuAnn is a remarkable individual, who literally searched each morning and afternoon for over nine weeks, calling us with sightings, suggestions, and a positive energy that gave us hope. We will be forever thankful to her and her dog for their efforts.

On Monday, March 19, we contacted Cathy Gregory, Jamestown's animal control officer. She demonstrated both professionalism and a true concern about locating Anita Marie. Cathy's job is difficult, and there were countless hours, including daytime and late evenings where Cathy would search areas of the island based on sightings she made, information from callers, or intuition. She assisted in setting up fencing and in moving traps, and like LuAnn she provided optimism and an energy that was invaluable. It is hard to express our thanks to someone like Cathy who would often comment, "I am just doing my job" and smile. We hope she understands the importance of her efforts to not only us but others who she has assisted.

Early in the search process, we were introduced to a retired veterinarian, Dr. Munafo. Dr. Munafo had rescued and saved the lives of many dogs during his career, some in the course of his work duties and many more simply through his altruism. Doctor Munafo contacted us and offered his assistance, and his efforts, along with the help- ful advice of his wife, were instrumental in capturing Anita Marie.

Also through LuAnn, we were introduced to island resident Henry Dutton. For those who do not know, Henry is a skilled marksman and caring person, and he volunteered his time and efforts to search for Anita Marie for several weeks. Based on discussions with multiple animal professionals including doctors, it was determined that the only way to capture Anita Marie was by tranquilizing her, and Henry was able to tranquilize her on Thursday, May 24. We consider ourselves very fortunate to have met both Henry and his wife, not only for the obvious reason of his actions ultimately leading to Anita Marie's capture, but because they are truly pleasant people who responded to our call for assistance when the traps were not delivering results.

We would like to extend our thanks to both the Potter League in Middletown and the Town of North Kingstown's Animal Control Officer Liz MacLaughlin for their assistance and for allowing us to utilize humane dog traps.

Based on flyers posted throughout the island and newspaper advertisements, we were kept abreast of sightings by island residents. We thank them all for their calls. Many allowed us to place dog traps on their property. We thank them for their patience, especially when we would interrupt their quietness throughout many a night.

We are hopeful that through a long rehabilitation process that Anita Marie can assume a more happy and normal life.

Justin and Candace McAloon

Beacon Avenue

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