It was a balmy spring evening in early June, and Carolyn Howard didn’t think twice about the fact that her front door was open and her dog, Piper, was sitting on the porch. In her 35 years in Madison Park it had never crossed her mind that anyone might walk off with someone’s dog—and her Wheaten Scottish Terrier was certainly not known for straying from the property. So she didn’t give the situation a second thought. But when she returned to the porch after just a few minutes, the 9-year-old Piper (aka “Pipes”) was nowhere to be found.
“I knew that she had been taken,” says Howard, “because everyone in the neighborhood could have said where Piper lived if she had been found by someone. After I looked for her and couldn’t find her my first instinct was that things were bad.” Howard immediately went into action, calling up pounds and veterinarian offices in the area and posting fliers around the neighborhood.
We’re happy to report that this story has a happy ending, with Piper being discovered by Howard at the Bellevue dog pound five days later. A wheaten-colored Scottie had been turned in, and Howard learned this fact after calling to listen to the pound’s daily recorded message listing new arrivals. She had hope that the dog was Piper but had to wait until the animal shelter opened the following day to find out for sure. At the reunion, according to Howard, Pipes was glad to be reunited but had no explanation to give for her disappearance.
Howard, who lives on the 1600 block of 42nd Avenue E., says “people need to know that this can happen. In the good weather, there are lots of people walking around the neighborhood who don’t live here. I’ve never been concerned before, but I sure am now. Piper is not getting out of my sight!”
A neighbor who had a similar thing happen to her dog several years ago speculates that someone took Piper with the intention of breeding the dog, later discovering upon closer examination that Piper had been neutered. A wheaten-colored Scottie is very unusual, according to Howard, and this may have been the attraction. As a precaution against further temptation, Howard jokes, “I think I am going to dye her black.”
Piper’s story provides an object lesson for those of us who are dog owners, especially those who have small pure-bred dogs that can be easily lifted. Being trusting may be a Madison Park thing, but it’s not necessary a wise thing.