People always say dogs have keen tracking abilities, but no one ever expects they can find their way back home from farther than down the street.
Taz, a Jack Russell terrier, is held by owner Connie Stewart after being brought home from Columbia County Animal Care and Control. Taz escaped from Stewart's son's home in south Augusta, where he was staying while Stewart was on vacation. He was found in his old neighborhood in Martinez.
Photo by Jim Blaylock
Taz proved them wrong.
Connie Stewart left her 2-year-old Jack Russell terrier, Taz, with her son off Sibley Road while she went to the mountains with family a couple of weeks ago. Taz has escaped before - jumping the chain-link fence at Stewart's home - and a screened-in porch at her son's home wasn't going to keep him in.
Travis, Stewart's son, called his aunt, Stewart's sister, in the mountains and the two tried to hide the fact Taz was missing.
But, Stewart knew something was wrong and demanded to know, she said.
"I busted out crying that night," Stewart said. "I was so worried. I was a nervous wreck all the way back. I had everybody crossing their fingers during the drive back home."
Though the neighborhood had already been searched, Stewart searched again Monday evening when she returned to town to no avail. She fully expected to find the 20-pound dog on the front porch of her Evans home near on Highview Way near Blanchard Park, when she returned.
But he was not there either.
"I somehow knew in my heart he was not gone forever," Stewart said. "We were only temporarily separated. I knew he would be back."
Stewart called a veterinarian to get the phone number for Richmond County Animal Control Tuesday morning. She also got the number for Columbia County just in case.
Taz wasn't at the Richmond shelter. But he was at Columbia County Animal Care and Control - he'd been found Taz near Westmont Elementary, where Richard and Connie Stewart had moved from only three months earlier.
Stewart rushed out to pick him up, though she still had to pay the $35 to do so. She saw him in the kennels to be sure it Taz before handling the paperwork.
"I do not know who was worse about trying to get to each other - me or him," Stewart said. "I never thought I would become attached to him like I have."
Apparently, Taz was seen near Sibley Road the morning after he escaped and by a child near Westmont Elementary later that afternoon, where a resident called Animal Care and Control. To get to Westmont, Taz had to travel approximately 11 miles and cross over Interstate 20 and under Bobby Jones Expressway, Stewart said.
"When Taz has his mind after something, he does not stop for anything. When we got home, he was so tired," Stewart said. "I gave him a bath. He would not leave my side - track for track. He would not eat. He just slept."
Stewart had a notion that Taz had been home before taking off to the previous Westmont Drive home because a bag of fish food and dog treats she left on the porch were scattered around the yard as was some garbage, which is not normal.
Taz's demeanor has changed a little since his escapades around town. He does not like to be separated from Stewart. He follows her from room to room and tries to follow out the door.
"He is a special dog," Stewart said. "I do not know if I have the heart to go off and leave him again."
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