Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Letters from Sheltie Lead to Reunion; Cathy Church Wrote to the Paper on Behalf of a Lost Dog to Find Her

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Letters from Sheltie Lead to Reunion; Cathy Church Wrote to the Paper on Behalf of a Lost Dog to Find Her

Article excerpt

Byline: DEBORAH CEARNAL, County Line staff writer

Staci is home.

After three weeks on the lam, the black-and-white sheltie has been reunited with her owner, Cathy Church.

"It was just fate for things to happen the way they did," Church said at her Tara Farms Drive home, with Staci leashed by her side.

Staci's odyssey began Feb. 5, when Church, who has had shelties for more than 30 years, allowed a couple to take the dog for a trial run as a pet in their home near DeBarry and Wells roads. Staci is shy and a loner, so joining this retired couple's family might be a good thing for the 7-year-old dog, Church explained.

"She has to live by herself in a barn, so I thought this new environment as an only dog in a family would be good," Church reasoned.

But only two days later she learned from the couple that Staci had "shot out the door" as the husband entered one evening.

Church immediately placed signs seeking help in finding Staci in the area where she vanished -- near Interstate 295 and behind Steak N Shake. She posted signs in veterinary offices and some businesses. She called her friend with sheltie rescue, Darla Duffey, for help and to determine if Staci had been surrendered.

After two weeks with only one possible sighting, Church wrote a letter to the editor -- as if she were Staci -- which was published, along with a picture, in the Clay County Line on Feb. 23.

Church said she was at her Middleburg home, crying about the loss of her beloved pet on Feb. 27, when she got a call from a woman saying she believed she saw Staci in a park next to her house.

Church rushed to Gulfstream Circle South in the Park West subdivision, and there was Staci, lying in a clump of trees.

Linda Borgmeier said she and a friend had gone shopping that rainy day, and when she returned home, both she and her friend "saw a flash of black and white running around the pond. …

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