The Franklin News-Post|
P. O. Box 250
310 Main Street, SW
Rocky Mount, Virginia 24151
|A trip to store turns into happy ending|
Photo by Morris Stephenson:
Terry Gusler and his daughter, Kelli, are thrilled to haveTinkerbell home after she disappeared about seven months ago. The dog showed up at Tractor Supply Saturday with a foster parent from Pulaski County.
Monday, October 29, 2012
By MORRIS STEPHENSON - Special to the News-Post
Seven months ago, Terry Gusler's beloved and ailing 13-year-old dog, Tinkerbell, disappeared from his home in Boones Mill.
After his daily searches failed, Gusler assumed "she had gone off to die," as dogs are known to do.
"She never left home (Boones Mill), so I assumed the worst. For weeks and weeks, I looked for her," he said.
As weeks turned into months, Gusler never gave up hope but assumed the dog he'd raised since she was a puppy would not return.
This tale began about 10 years ago when Gusler found a kitten under the hood of one of the cars at his auto shop on North Main Street. The kitten had lost a battle with the vehicle's fan belt.
"Its tail was almost cut off. Since I love dogs and cats, I took it to the vet, who saved the kitten's life but not all of its tail," Gusler explained.
About the same time, Gusler also got the tiny brown puppy he named Tinkerbell. The two animals became constant companions. They shared the office and waiting room of the business. Their friendship, which included a lot of romping and rolling, caught the attention of this writer. A story and photos about the strange pair was featured in the News-Post.
When Tinkerbell disappeared, Gusler and his daughter, Kelli, who manages the office for her father, could not get her out of their minds, especially at work.
"Tinkerbell was like one of us here at the shop," Kelli said. "She'd greet the customers when they came in, and she always loved attention and a little petting to go along with it."
Luckily on Saturday, the Franklin County Humane Society organized a special adoption program at Tractor Supply Company on U.S. 220.
By a twist of fate, Kelli went to Tractor Supply to get a couple of things.
"After seeing all the dogs at the store, I just had to go by and show them a little love," she said. "There was a dog I thought looked a lot like Tinkerbell, but she was heavier and she had one of the fatty tumors on her hip."
"When I called her name, her ears perked up and I started bawling," Kelli said. "I called daddy and told him Tinkerbell was at Tractor Supply, and he came in a matter of minutes."
A Humane Society foster parent, Lori St. Clair, who lives in Pulaski County, had brought Tinkerbell to the adoption event. She had two dogs living at her home but decided to bring Tinkerbell to Tractor Supply because the dog "looked like she wanted to go."
When Gusler arrived at Tractor Supply, Tinkerbell immediately recognized her master, pulling the woman at the other end of the leash across the parking lot toward him.
"That's my dog," Gusler said.
"How do I know that?" the woman asked.
Gusler, who had trained Tinkerbell using treats, didn't say a word.
"I looked at Tinker Bell and motioned my finger downward," he said. "She sat down. Next, I moved my finger in a circular motion and she rolled over. Then I kneeled down and held out my arms, and Tinkerbell came running and jumped into them."
"I stood up saying, 'that's my dog' again, and the lady didn't say anything else," Gusler said. "We had a lot of making up to do for time lost."
The woman told Gusler the dog had been with her about four months. "And I think she said Tinkerbell had been in another foster home for a couple of months, but I don't know where."
"Kelli and I are just elated she's back, and we can tell Tinkerbell is just as happy to be home," he said.
Early Monday morning, it was business as usual for Tinkerbell. She was back to her old ways at the shop as if she hadn't missed a day. From a soft bed just inside the business office door, she snoozed until the little bell signaled that someone was entering the front door.
Then she would be on her feet to greet the customer. A wagging tail is a sure sign for new customers that Tinkerbell loves attention. The more the better as far as she's concerned.
And when there's a break in the customer traffic, it doesn't matter. Tinkerbell is back home with those who love her.