Dog lost, dog found
There is no doubt people love their pets, but when Murphy, Mike and Diane McKeel's cherished Goldendoodle breed, disappeared recently, a multi-state crowd of dog lovers sprung into action to try and find the missing pup.
Murphy vanished Friday, Aug. 31, when the lock in McKeel's dental office door stuck and didn't engage when he left to have lunch with his wife. The wind blew the door open at the office at 108 N.E. Second St. in downtown Gresham but the office was closed, so nobody noticed when Murphy scooted out the open front door.
Upon returning to the office, the McKeels realized Murphy had escaped. Mike McKeel felt sick.
"I'm sure he was just looking for me," he said. "I felt guilty that it was something that I did."
McKeel immediately searched downtown on foot and then by car. No Murphy.
The family and McKeel's office manager made flyers to post around town and hand out. Four or five friends joined the search, "looking everywhere and calling his name. No luck."
The McKeels began posting on Facebook and on "lost pet" internet sites. The Facebook posts were shared hundreds of times, and soon many people in Gresham were looking out for the McKeel's pooch.
McKeel said friends, patients, even Gresham Mayor Shane Bemis jumped on the case.
"If not for Facebook, we never would have found him," Mike McKeel said.
The McKeels adopted Murphy from the Multnomah County Animal Shelter about eight years ago when he was about a year old. The blonde beauty quickly became part of the family and an important figure in McKeel's dental practice.
"He comes to work with me every day. He's the official patient greeter. Some people wonder about animals in a health care situation," McKeel said. "But they have dogs in hospitals now. He's good for the kids and for older people."
But as the days wore on and Murphy didn't show up, "the sinking feeling got worse," McKeel said. He put one of his shirts, Murphy's full food bowl and water outside his dental office, and a check at dawn found the food and shirt untouched.
McKeel even heard from a woman in California who is an expert at finding lost pets. She gave him multiple tips and guidance on how to go about the search.
Then on Monday, Labor Day, Sept. 3, McKeel got a call from a woman who had spotted Murphy trotting up Second Street and around the Gresham Center for the Arts Plaza where McKeel and Murphy walk daily. She reported a woman had coaxed Murphy into her SUV for protection.
The mood lightened.
McKeel was handing out flyers and eating lunch downtown on Tuesday. Gresham Fire Chief Greg Matthews called and said he saw a "found dog" Facebook post that looked like Murphy.
"It was Murphy," McKeel said. McKeel and the "found dog" Facebook poster got in touch.
Dog and man were reunited.
The woman had taken Murphy to a veterinarian to scan for a chip, but the chip must have migrated, McKeel said.
"We learned a lot about friends and animal lovers, and I sense Murphy did as well," McKeel wrote on Facebook.
Murphy's homecoming was greeted at McKeel's dental office with cheers and hugs from staff and patients.
"He was one happy little camper," McKeel said.
Then Murphy grabbed his toy duck and blissfully conked out, oblivious to the anxiety and city-wide commotion he caused.