The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Local News

May 4, 2013

Community pulls together to help find dog

(Continued)

NORTH MANKATO —

The search began immediately.

Bernardy called Minnesota Sheltie Rescue, a group that finds homes for adoptable shelties. They gave her advice on how to go about finding Cocoa. They also gave her hope. A sheltie missing in the Twin Cities once was found after 96 days. They also sought help from Lost Dogs Minnesota, a group that aids in the search for lost pets. They helped the Bernardys create a flier and put them in touch with a liaison in Le Center who helped their search.

Still, the Bernardys were unsure. And Gwen was heartbroken.

While Rick has several children from a previous marriage, Gwen does not. And she freely admits that her dogs fill that place in her life.

“These are like my children,” she said. “I know they’re not human, but ...”

Even though Cocoa had only been with the family for a year, she’d made quite an impression.

She came from a farm and had no idea what to make of that rope thing they attached to her collar. She’s shy by nature, but she was super shy when they brought her home; she wouldn’t come out of the kitchen for a while. Soon, though, her personality began to emerge, and Cocoa blended in nicely as a silly, outgoing member of the pack (although still shy around strangers).

From 6 a.m. to 10:30 p.m., they went door to door and rode their bikes around the neighborhood, calling her name, scouring every corner of every street in the neighborhood. In the process, the people of their community took notice, and took interest.

Calls started coming in. Neighbors began looking for Cocoa on their own.

“I was very surprised,” Bernardy said. “Pretty much all of lower North was helping us.”

There were a few Cocoa sightings the first day. A few more the next. Then on Saturday ╔ nothing.

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