The Internet has become the quicker alternative to posting lost animal fliers all over a neighborhood.
It helped Stephanie Mueller of Fairview Heights when she chanced onto a wandering dog during Halloween trick-or-treating.
Mueller said she and her husband were coming home from taking their son to visit at a cousins' house Thursday night in a subdivision off Old Collinsville Road and Frank Scott Parkway.
As they were driving home, in the middle of the road, was a Labrador retriever, limping badly.
As a nurse, and an animal lover, Mueller insisted they stop and do something.
You may have heard this story before, or lived it, as I have. It is how many people gain new pets.
But this one had a happy technological ending.
Mueller said the dog came right to her and they put the animal in their car and took it to an emergency animal hospital in Collinsville to make sure it wasn't suffering.
"It had a collar but no tags," she said. "And it had a lot of what looked like tumors. We thought it might be sick."
But it checked out OK so they took the dog home rather than surrender it to temporary custody with animal control.
The next day she took the dog to Lashley Animal Hospital in Swansea, where the staff scanned an identifying microchip.
The chip had been implanted at a vet clinic in Carbondale. The clinic told them it had been implanted in 2002 but had never been registered.
The Carbondale clinic had some phone numbers but Mueller said they didn't work anymore.
Mueller said the clinic also had the name of the people who had the dog chipped and it was an unusual last name. So she decided to try and trace the name on the Internet.
She found one reference, of a man named Sabengsy, who lived in Chicago. She sent him a message via Facebook.
"I figured it was a long shot, but I just said we had found this dog and your name. Do you know anything," Mueller said.
The man called back and said it might be his sister's dog and he was calling her.
"Literally two minutes later she was calling me," Mueller said. "She lived in the neighborhood where we found him."
The owner, Patricia Sabengsy, said the dog, named K.T., probably hadn't wandered too far, because it can't. But when you find a wandering dog, you don't have time to check every house in the neighborhood.
What they thought were tumors were benign cysts and K.T. suffers from hip dysplasia, accounting for the odd walk.
Thanks to the Internet, K.T. went home to an emotional reunion and everyone lived happily ever after.
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