Service dog lost in storm gets back home, with help
BY JON SCHUBIN
The Wichita Eagle
It had been nearly a week since the black Labrador retriever was spooked by a thunderstorm and bolted during the night from a yard near 22nd North and Rock.
It took a disc jockey at KFXJ 104.5-FM, “The Fox,” telling listeners about an Eagle story about the dog to make the reunion happen.
But you might say Tia decided to rescue herself just a couple of hours after she escaped.
Tia is a service dog that lives at Clark’s apartment in the Timbers, a Wichita independent-living community.
An accident in 1998 left Clark with permanent neurological damage, limiting his mobility and speech.
For more than three years, the highly trained dog has provided companionship and helped him get around. She can open doors, turn on light switches and serve as a brace in case of a fall.
Clark had to be hospitalized at Wesley Medical Center for pneumonia Sept. 8.
The next day, his mother, Jan, left Tia in her backyard while she spent the night at the hospital.
Sometime during the night, a thunderstorm apparently scared Tia. Jan Clark returned Sunday morning to find a section of broken fence and no dog.
“We were just devastated,” she said.
She and her husband, Michael, immediately started searching for Tia, posting flyers, contacting the Humane Society and alerting local media.
What they didn’t know was that just a few hours after the storm, Tia did the unexpected.
Two blocks from the Clarks’ home, at 4 a.m. Sunday, she jumped unbidden into Rick Moore’s truck in the parking lot of Tallgrass Centre, where he’s in charge of maintenance.
“The dog found him,” said Moore’s wife, Michelle.
Rick Moore brought Tia back to their house in South Wichita. The couple quickly noticed she wasn’t the average stray.