About two years ago, a little French bulldog named Toby went into his owner’s yard to spend some time in the sun and mysteriously disappeared.
“Toby was my grandpa’s dog,” said Krystal Shaw, of Rockingham. “My grandpa loved him, and he took him running every day.”
Krystal’s grandfather died tragically in an accident, and she took Toby into her home and cared for him.
“My grandpa was my world,” she said. “My grandma couldn’t handle taking care of Toby when he died, so I took him.”
Toby quickly won over her heart, and she thought of him as her own. One day, she put Toby out into the yard and within just minutes he was gone.
“We couldn’t find any place that he could have escaped,” she said. “There were no holes in or under the fence. I thought someone must have taken him.”
She speculated as to whether someone wanted to try and breed him, or perhaps someone just wanted to have him as their own pet.
“The thing is, he couldn’t be bred,” Krystal said. “He only had one testicle, and a hereditary mange condition.”
Over time, she resigned herself to the fact that she’d never see her beloved pet again.
“Lately I’ve been thinking about getting another dog, and I was looking at pictures of dogs on One Man’s Junk,” she said.
One Man’s Junk, Richmond County is a Facebook page for county residents to post goods and services for sale, trade and give-away.
She spotted an album of dog photos posted on May 30 and her heart leapt.
“I just knew it was Toby,” she said. “I started crying and called my mom.”
A kind-hearted person in Hamlet lit a spark of hope for Shaw, with her post about a “found dog.”
Jennifer Terry wrote that someone had thrown the dog in the photos out of a car window in front of her mother’s house, and she was trying to find him a home.
“My mom saw a blue car — we don’t know what kind — slow down and throw a dog out the window,” said Jennifer.
Tossed out like garbage, the dog jumped up and ran to Jennifer and her mom, who were standing in the yard. The pair fed the homeless animal, while trying to decide what to do with him.
“My mom wanted to keep him, but she has some travel plans coming up and didn’t think it would be a good idea,” she said.
Mom and daughter gave the dog a bath, applied flea and tick repellent and decided to post his photos online.
As fate would have it, her post was the very one that attracted Krystal’s attention.
Krystal posted a response to Jennifer, “I think I know this dog and he has been lost for a very long time. If I can find a picture I can show it to you.”
Eager to prove that this was, indeed, her long lost Toby, Krystal called Jennifer and began to describe the dog.
Jennifer happily reported that the dog in her possession had only one testicle, and Krystal began to cry.
“She (Krystal) was so excited, and she was really crying hard,” said Jennifer. “She asked if she could come right over and pick the dog up.”
“He definitely remembered her, he was trying to jump into her arms,” said Jennifer.
Jennifer said that she was angry that someone could throw a dog out of a car.
“But it was awesome to see how happy they both were,” she added. “It made me feel great. He (Toby) was so silly when he saw her.”
Toby, now four years and four months old, is back safe at home with Krystal.
“He’s just the same as he was two years ago — still housebroken and everything,” said Krystal. “We’ve taken him to the vet, and he has a couple of little health issues but nothing that can’t be fixed. I just can’t imagine how or why anyone could treat a dog like that but I’m just glad to have him home.”
Krystal said she was grateful to Jennifer for helping Toby find his way back to her family.
— Staff Writer Kelli Easterling can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 18, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.