Harrison family’s missing dog found after week-long search

When Harrison resident John Latour was involved in a traffic accident last month, he never thought it would lead to a week-long search for a family member.

The story began on February 26, when Latour and his girlfriend, Hannah Kish, were driving down Freeport Road in Natrona Heights, Harrison, and had a car accident.

Their dog, Shadow, was in the back seat. The accident caused one of the windows to open, and a frightened Shade squeezed his way in and fled.

The couple didn’t realize Shadow was gone as they checked on everyone involved in the crash.

“I was really focused on the other vehicle because I heard a kid screaming and I wanted to make sure everything was okay,” Kish said.

No one was hurt.

The family soon began searching for Shadow, a 4-year-old pit bull-boxer mix, spending at least two hours combing the area. As midnight approached, they stopped.

Latour’s brother, Anthony, continued the quest on social media, posting to a Facebook community group seeking help in finding Shadow.

The call received an overwhelming response, with people posting and calling about the sightings of the dog. Latour and Kish were touched but still unsure if their furry companion would come home.

One community member, Fawn Natskakula, had experience as an animal control officer. She set a humane trap in an attempt to capture Shadow, following reports that the dog was spotted crossing Route 28 to the hills behind Ridge Road in Fawn.

Natskakula said it was a task to get a trap as they are in short supply. She tried to use one of her own and borrowed one from a woman in New Kensington, but they both turned out to be too small for Shadow.

“Seeing complete strangers go out of their way to help us was heartwarming and amazing to watch,” said Anthony Latour.

People were looking for Shadow from daylight to sunset, taking different shifts throughout the day. Each day, a total of 18 hours were spent by people searching for Shadow.

“I work from home, so whenever I got a sighting or a call, I would leave my office and drive over there,” he said.

The house was dark and empty while Shadow was gone, John Latour said. “It’s amazing how much of a presence a pet becomes in your home.”

Kish was training for a marathon at the time. Although preoccupied with research, she decides one day to break away from it.

“I thought, ‘Oh, maybe I’ll see him,’ but I didn’t have any treats or a leash with me,” she said.

Kish’s route took her past a baseball stadium near Highlands Middle School. Suddenly, near the baseball fields, she spotted a dog that looked like Shadow.

She was in disbelief – until the dog looked at her, and she knew it was Shadow.

Remembering the advice of others, she played it cool. Running towards him might scare him. Instead, she played her favorite hunting game, running around the field.

After a while, she collapsed to the ground, pretending to be hurt, hoping to get his attention.

“I was screaming, ‘Shadow, Shadow, help me,'” she said, and she made exaggerated movements with her body.

Sure enough, Shadow stepped forward and gave her familiar kisses.

Shadow returned home on March 5, seven days after his escape, and the energy in the house was restored, Kish said.

“It was a complete relief, and it almost didn’t feel like it was happening.”

The family, along with Natskakula, are creating a GoFundMe to help raise money for a large box trap to get easier access to situations where dogs get lost.

John Latour is grateful for all the support and help the community has given to help bring their dog home.

“I’m just thankful it worked out the way it did,” he said. “It could have gone wrong very easily.”

Tanisha Thomas is editor of Tribune-Review. You can contact Tanisha at 412-480-7306, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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