Booker, Cynthia & Melody  BOOKER FOUND!
Lost show dog back in owner's arms.

Booker was found off Chico Way in Silverdale
after a five-day journey.

Look what the hamburger dragged in.

Booker, the runaway show dog, couldn't resist a fetching plate of ground beef and walked right into a trap.The 3-1/2-year-old Schipperke was captured Thursday, five days after bolting from Sunday's Peninsula Dog Fancier Club show at Kitsap Pavilion.Booker was tracked down by Melody Pugh, a Bremerton "pet detective," who was among a dozen people searching for him."I didn't think I would see him alive," said Booker's owner, Cynthia Hildebrand of Pendleton, Ore. She spent nearly $500 in ads in The Sun to find her dog, valued at around $1,000.

Hildebrand said Booker had everything going against him. He is small, dark and tends to dart from one destination to the next.

"This is a high-traffic community and this dog just runs all over the place," she said.What she didn't know about Kitsap County was the amount of people who cared.

A dozen or so people came out to help search for the dog.The folks at the McDonald Farm Kennel in Silverdale used their business as the search headquarters. They received numerous calls from residents who spotted Booker running in the area of the fairgrounds, the Kitsap Mall and Chico Way."

We got a call from a man who said the dog was running alongside his motorcycle," said Gale McDonald, the kennel owner.The dog's last known location Thursday night was in a wooded area near Chico Way. That's when Melody Pugh got serious.Melody Pugh has found numerous animals as a volunteer pet detective in the past. She had a feeling that the other volunteers working this case were heading in the wrong location and decide to break off.

It was time for a trap, she thought.She found a family on Kearney Road that was willing to have the trap placed in their back yard late Thursday night.At 5:30 a.m. Friday, Pugh got the call: an animal is in the box. If Pugh didn't know the traits of the Schipperke breed she might have thought she had caught a bear.

The dogs which have dark brown hair are groomed to look like bear cubs. Their tails are cut off as puppies to add to the effect. When the trap was opened, though, there was no doubt it was Booker. Fortunately, his owner was heading to Bremerton from Oregon, where she returned after finding no evidence of her dog Tuesday.

"It's a miracle. When I saw him, I cried," Hildebrand said. It's actually the second time one of her show dogs has gotten away.Two years ago, her basenji took off from a show in King County. He turned up 21 days later. Hildebrand was amazed at the condition of her Booker. The only injury he had was a slight scuff mark on his nose."And he didn't lose anything more than a half-pound," said Hildebrand, feeling her dog's belly.

The Schipperkes were bred to kill vermin, which might have helped him stay in shape. "We won't know for sure what he ate until it comes out the other end," Pugh said. The only question remaining now is should Kitsap County expect to see some Booker look-alikes running the streets.Booker, like almost all show dogs, has not been neutered. His owner doubts he had companionship on his mind during the ordeal.

"He was just running so fast to get home that he would not have stopped for anything. Not even that," Hildebrand said with a smirk on her face.

Published in The Sun: 04/01/2000

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