When Jami Estabrook’s beloved dog named Molly escaped from her Mt. Lebanon home last August, she did everything in her power to find her.
Estabrook scoured the area in her car, put up 400 “Lost Dog” fliers from Bridgeville to Bethel Park and even knocked on doors to see if her collie-shepherd mix with long black hair was wandering around their neighborhoods.
Despite numerous close calls and apparent sightings between Mt. Lebanon’s Rec Center and St. Clair Hospital, she could never catch up with the elusive Molly. Even one of her traps only turned up an angry raccoon.
But after six months of searching, she never gave up hope that her dog would appear alive.
Then, the day after posting one last bit of information on her Facebook page, she received a call on Feb. 16 from a man who had found a black dog on his Beechview property. Estabrook thought the worst, but she then learned of the good news she had been waiting to hear for six months.
“She was alive and well,” Estabrook said of the dog she and her husband originally picked up at the rescue shelter in 2009. “It was all over after that. I just started crying and shouted, ‘They found Molly and she’s alive!’”
The Beechview man who found her, Dave Walchesky, said he began feeding the stray dog, which was still wearing her tags, last summer when she kept coming back to his property. He tried to get closer each time she returned, but Molly was too timid and would run away. Finally, he contacted animal control, which gave him a trap and instructions on how to trap the dog.
He put the trap out last week with food inside and Molly eventually made her way inside. Somehow, the ordeal didn’t seem to bother her too much.
“I looked at her, and couldn’t believe it was really her,” Esabrook said when they were reunited. “She now has some tan in her whiskers so she probably aged a little bit since the adventure. It was great (when she came home). She was prancing around … so I knew that she knew she was home.”
Molly is adjusting well in her home and enjoys being around a new 18-month-old chocolate lab the family adopted in November.
“I didn’t give up hope that she was alive and around here,” Estabrook said. “I had to keep believing that someone was kind enough to feed her.
This article originally appeared on Chartiers Valley Patch.