I’m very glad to see these two get back together!
That said, here’s a learning moment. We won’t even talk about walking away from a vehicle with keys in it. What could have shortened Bleu’s time lost? How about a microchip and a good ID collar?
MyrtleBeachOnline ran this article.
Forget the car. Where’s the dog?
The Charlotte Observer
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – When Jennifer Rockholt realized her sad-eyed 2-year-old bloodhound was gone, she was in a parking lot near Blowing Rock, alone – without her keys, purse or Jeep.
But most importantly, without her dog, Bleu.
Rockholt had driven from Rock Hill, S.C., to the North Carolina mountains for a weekend shopping trip. Bleu was allowed to come on these trips because he didn’t stir when Rockholt left him in the car.
Rockholt’s first stop was at the Tanger Outlet Mall to get directions to the Alpine Village Inn. It was Sunday, Nov. 5.
She left Bleu sleeping in the back of her new Jeep. “It still had its paper tag on it,” Rockholt said.
“Do you know where the Alpine Village Inn is?” she asked the clerk.
He didn’t know.
When she turned to leave, her Jeep, which had been less than 15 feet away, was gone.
“I’m running up the mountain, hollering, someone just stole my dog,” Rockholt said. “I didn’t have a dollar. Plus, I didn’t know anyone.”
She waited in a panic for police, she said.
“The keys were in the car, I admit that,” Rockholt said. “I didn’t expect anyone to steal it, either.”
She wanted to make sure the police knew the Jeep was a second thought.
“I was like, dude, I don’t care about that stupid car; I just want my dog,” Rockholt said she told the police officer.
She returned to Rock Hill, S.C., with her mom, who drove up to get her that afternoon.
Bleu and the Jeep were stolen on a Sunday. On Monday, Rockholt printed 1,000 fliers with a drawing of a bloodhound and her phone number. She got her sister, mother and dog groomer to help pass out the leaflets from Charlotte to Blowing Rock.
“This dog is like everything to me,” she said of the pooch who sat on people’s shoes when he liked them.
Then WSOC-TV in Charlotte aired a story on her and Bleu. That led to a woman calling and leading police to Rockholt’s Jeep that Wednesday in Grier Heights in Charlotte.
Rockholt now knew an address. She went to the apartment. No trace of Bleu.
“I was crazy,” Rockholt said. “I was probably just wanting to see if the dog had been there. I just wanted to … say hey, ‘Is the dog alive?’ “
There was one encouraging sign. Rockholt noticed scratch marks on the back of her Jeep. Either Bleu had jumped out or someone let him out. But between Charlotte and Blowing Rock are hundreds of square miles.
While Rockholt desperately looked for him, Bleu was running around the mountains.
As Dawn Hudson drove to her job that Tuesday at the Banfield veterinary hospital in Gastonia, she saw a man trying to corral a big dog in a field by a busy road in Newton, 50 miles from Blowing Rock.
“He was having a good ol’ time in the field,” Hudson said. “He had no tag, no collar, no leash, no nothing….”
She used her belt as a makeshift leash and got him into her silver BMW.
“He took up my whole back seat,” Hudson said.
Hudson’s boss let the 120-pound bloodhound that she called “big dog” and “Hooch” stay at the veterinary center in Gastonia.
While Bleu was soaking up patrons’ love at the veterinary center, Rockholt was becoming increasingly desperate to find her dog, offering a $5,000 reward.
She had bought Bleu for $250 when he was 3 months old. He was part of a litter that the York County Sheriff’s Office trains to track criminals.
She kept getting phone calls. Someone said the dog had been on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Someone saw him in Hickory. Someone saw him in Newton. Someone saw him in Gastonia. She doubted the sightings – there were so many.
Bleu stayed four days and five nights in the Gastonia vet hospital, which is in the same building as PetSmart, with people offering to buy him.
Rockholt got a call on Saturday that someone had found a bloodhound by the road. She and her mother went to Gastonia “doing 1,000 mph.”
“I’m flying into PetSmart,” Rockholt said. “I’m hysterical. I hadn’t slept in three days. People were like clapping and cheering. It was crazy.”
After six days and more than 70 miles, Rockholt and Bleu were reunited.
“He’s just a good dog,” she said. “He’s really, really smart.”
Blowing Rock police have not arrested a suspect, said Chief Eric Brown. Brown said stolen cars are unusual in the small mountain town.
“It’s maybe once a year as an average,” Brown said.
Only one thing has changed since the two separated, Rockholt said.
“He’s very protective,” she said. “He’s always been protective over me but not like this.”