Buster Nash, Joe Janzen and Jamie Johannsen were in the Vetter Stone company truck Monday morning, taking a look around at projects coming up for the week.
That’s when Janzen spotted it.
A little brown dog with floppy ears sniffing around the quarry.
They all knew immediately. They’d seen the posters around town, articles in the newspaper, posts on social media. And they all saw the text from their boss, Donn Vetter, telling them to keep an eye out for Guinness, the chocolate Lab puppy that had fled the scene of a rollover crash, which the community was trying to find.
That’s when Nash made the ultimate sacrifice.
It was early in the morning, but Nash had his lunch pail in the truck. He unbuckled it and pulled out what would have been his Monday afternoon sustenance — trout and fettuccini shells — and used it to lure Guinness over.
It’s a well-known fact no pooch can resist a meal of trout and fettuccini shells. So, obviously, Guinness made her way to the three men. But slowly.
“The dog seemed kind of skittish,” Nash said. “We had to draw it in somehow.”
And while she feasted on what was probably her first good meal since Dec. 30 (the day she went missing), Janzen scooped her and didn’t let her go.
A few minutes later, Brianna Oachs’ phone rang. A friend of one of the Vetter employees called the number on the “Lost Dog” poster and spoke with Oachs. It sounded like Guinness she thought. Then the woman texted a photo of the dog.
“I got the picture, saw a chocolate Lab puppy with a purple collar and her long droopy ears,” Oachs said, “and then I knew it was Ginny.”
Oachs has been desperate to find her dog since the moment she realized Guinness was gone. Exactly one week ago to the hour, Oachs had been on her way to drop the kids off at day care when, during a snowy and icy commute, her Jeep slid off the road and rolled into a ditch. With the help of a passing motorist, she got the kids out and made sure they were safe, but then quickly realized Guinness — who came along for the ride — had vanished.
That kicked off a search for Guinness that included tons of social media shares, comments, tips, suggestions on finding lost dogs, prayers and well wishes.
Friends spent afternoons cruising back roads, strangers reported seeing Guinness’ unique tracks in the Kasota-area snow. Two fellows with drones searched the area from the sky. And a community of animal lovers held its collective breath as the days dragged on with no sign of a 32-pound puppy in a region rich with coyotes.
“I honestly thought she’d been attacked by a coyote,” Oachs confessed. “Best-case scenario, I thought, was she was hiding out somewhere. Worst case, she wasn’t coming back.”
Guinness was taken to a veterinarian right away. She’d had a few cuts that Oachs believes were sustained during the rollover. And she looked skinny. The vet prescribed some antibiotics for the cuts, but said she was otherwise a healthy puppy.
The past week has been a whirlwind for Brianna and Corey Oachs. But while they may have learned how it feels to lose a puppy, they’ve also learned how it feels when a community comes together to help you.
“I can’t believe that many people were looking for her, praying for her,” she said. “Six-thousand people shared Corey’s post, a couple hundred more shared mine. Honestly, I thought maybe we’d get 50 shares. But 6,000 people shared it and were praying for her to come home. I can’t believe that many people would come together over a lost puppy.”
After Brianna got that text confirmation Guinness had been found, she got in her car and sped home. When she got there, Corey was waiting in the driveway with Guinness. When Guinness saw Brianna, she began to squirm and wiggle, so much so that Corey had a hard time holding onto her.
Inside the house, Brianna sat on the couch and Guinness immediately snuggled up next to her.
The nightmare was over.