A Silveranch man and his black Labrador, which had been missing for more than a week, were reunited Friday night, transforming the evening's dinner set aside for tactical search planning into a joyous homecoming.
"We got our Belle back on the evening of the 23rd," said owner John Enos. "We were meeting at Fiona's for dinner to plan our Saturday strategy of getting more fliers out."
But earlier that day, Marshall Flag, a Pinenuts resident, had driven past a flier posted at the intersection of East Valley and Buckeye roads.
He thought the dog he saw might be one he had heard talk about at work.
Flag called the co-worker, who lived in Dayton, and confirmed that the identification number on the dog's collar he had matched the one given by Belle's veterinarian.
"I got right in my truck and took off to Dayton," Enos said.
The next day, Enos and his family visited Flag at his home and gave him the $500 reward. Flag has reportedly donated some of that reward to an animal shelter.
"He's a Lab lover, too," said Enos. "And he knew how I was feeling about wanting my dog back."
Belle disappeared more than a week ago while Enos was on a hunting trip.
He said she would often wander over to construction sites near his Silveranch home, but always return. She had on a tag with a phone number for the veterinarian.
"I want people to be aware that your pets just don't disappear when it's a pet that normally doesn't run away," Enos said.
In the meantime, Belle has a new collar. The one she wore when she was returned to Enos was replaced with a bright pink one.
"I kept hoping we would find her," Enos said. "I was going to keep up with the signs and keep looking for her all of next year if I had to."
-- Contact reporter Maggie O'Neill at email@example.com or 881-1219.