by Sheila

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November 13, 2012
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Callie comes home after 16 months on the run

Callie could do without all the attention, thank you.The shepherd-mix was returned to her owners, Colleen and Ed Kurczodyna, of the Gardnerville Ranchos last week, 16 months after she dug her way out on July 4, 2011.“It's a miracle,” Colleen said as she and Callie sat side-by-side in a 10-by-10-foot enclosure in the Kurczodynas' garage, which is the dog's new home.Callie is patient with visitors, sits still for a photograph, but seems to just want to rest after her life on the road.The 7-year-old dog's life has not been easy, which may have served her well living a year and a half on her own.She was one of the “Gabbs dogs,” 145 animals rescued in 2007-08 from a ranch in the tiny central Nevada community after the owner died.The Kurczodynas, who also provide a home for dogs, a cat and miniature horses, adopted Callie from a shelter in Truckee in 2008, along with an older Gabbs dog, Colin, who has since died.“The first thing we did was change her name from ‘Kumquat' to Callie,” Colleen said.After months of patient one-on-one, Callie seemed to adjust to her new surroundings. Eventually, she felt comfortable enough to sleep on Kurczodyna's bed.Callie developed a routine that included daily tea and gingersnaps, and lights out at 9:30 p.m.On the day she disappeared, Kurczodyna said she wanted to let Callie in before dark because she knew there would be July Fourth fireworks which might scare her.“I went to let her in, and she was already gone,” she said.Callie dug her way out of the back yard, and jumped a fence.Frantic, Kurczodyna patrolled the neighborhood and distributed flyers.Callie didn't stray far, but she was determined not to get caught.Right after she disappeared, Jim and Anna Hansen, who live a few blocks away on Glenwood, called Douglas Animal Care & Services to report a dog living under their deck.Supervisor Janet Duzan and Liz Begovich were summoned to free the dog which turned out to be Callie.“She's a smart dog,” said Jim Hansen. “She sprang the trap, and ate the food, but evaded capture.”Then, she vanished again.“You know how you feel in your gut that she was still out there?” Kurczodyna said. “None of us gave up.”The Hansens caught site of Callie in January, but then she disappeared until October, when she moved back to their deck. This time, they thought she might be injured. They enlisted the help of their neighbor Matt Sampson, and re-contacted Duzan and Begovich who showed up with a tranquilizer after Callie would not be coaxed out. “I can't say enough about the three of them,” Hansen said. “They worked here for three hours to get her out.”The Hansens dismantled part of the deck to reach Callie.“She needs a bath, but she looks good for being on her own for a year and a half,” Colleen said the afternoon Callie came home.Duzan said she thinks Callie's background as a Gabbs dog fortified her survival instincts.“She was raised that way for most of her life. When she took off, she reverted to what she knows,” Duzan said. “Colleen was thrilled when we showed up, and Callie perked up when we backed in the Kurczodynas' driveway.”The Kurczodynas are planning to bring a trainer into their home to work with Callie. For now, she'll live in the kennel which can be transferred outdoors in warmer weather.“I am ecstatic,” Colleen said. “I am just so happy. When we brought her into the kennel inside the garage I told her, ‘We won't have to track you down any more. You'll have food and water, and you won't have to sleep with one eye open.'”

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The Record Courier Updated Nov 14, 2012 04:10PM Published Nov 13, 2012 07:35PM Copyright 2012 The Record Courier. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.