The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Local News

May 4, 2013

Community pulls together to help find dog

NORTH MANKATO —

Staring up at the wall of lost dogs and cats at Pet Expo in Mankato, Gwen Bernardy never dreamed she’d be here. 

Holding a handful of fliers in her hand, she wondered if Cocoa, her 2-year-old sheltie, would ever find her way home.

“I never thought I’d be one of those people who has to go out looking for their dog,” Bernardy said days later.

But she hung that flier, positioning it among those pleading for help finding missing beagles and calico cats. In fact, she and her husband made 200 fliers and hung every one of them up on telephone poles and tree trunks and walked the streets of lower North Mankato handing them out door to door.

On nearly every block within a mile, anyone who cared to read the flier could discover the following:

Cocoa went missing April 25. She was last seen near the intersection of Belgrade Avenue and Range Street. She’s shy and timid. The flier cautioned people to not chase Cocoa or call out her name. As with other lost-pet fliers, this one gave a phone number to call in case anyone saw her.

The Bernardys knew, though, that even with the flier, most stories like this end sadly, perhaps tearfully.

This one may have had tears. But they were the other kind. Because this story has a happy ending. Cocoa made her way home, all right. And in the process, her owner discovered something about her community she might not have discovered were she not thrown into adversity.

Bernardy dropped Cocoa off a groomer on the corner of Belgrade and Range Thursday morning. While there, Cocoa somehow slipped out the door when it was left open a tad too long. By the time her absence was discovered, it was too late.

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