Missing Dog Brings Neighbors Together to Search in Two States
UPDATE: The search expanded to Covington on Wednesday afternoon after someone believes the dog was spotted on Pike Street. Flyers have been handed out throughout Downtown Covington.
Jeff Brown and his wife were tasked with keeping an eye on Olive, a 4-year old rat terrier whose owners are traveling abroad.
Olive had stayed in their home multiple times while her owners were away.
But on Monday, September 9, the Browns were having furniture delivered to the basement. Jeff was at work and his daughter, whom Olive is most responsive to, was at school. Only Jeff's wife was at their home in the Cincinnati neighborhood of Prospect Hill.
The door was open during the delivery and Olive bolted.
"She doesn't come to my wife as much as she would me or my daughter," Brown said of Olive. "My wife chased her around the block and hoped to get her in the car but Olive ended up running away from her and that's where the story starts."
Immediately following Olive's disappearance, Jeff came home and started to search the neighborhood and posted the info on social media.
He also contacted Olive's owners. "They are very supportive. Fortunately for us, they are good folks and understand that it could have happened to anyone," Brown said. "We feel horrible."
He stays in contact with the traveling owners through Facebook,
Olive's information is now all over Facebook and on at least neighborhood email lists. Word spread quickly and right away.
"I've never experienced this before, but based on all the technology we have now, this was within a matter of a few hours, Olive's photo was probably viewed and shared by a hundred people or more," Brown said.
More traditional methods have also been used in the search, including flyers and posters.
And then the sightings started to roll in, first at a nearby Bible College. "We've had four sightings in that area," Brown said.
Days later, another sighting came in but this time, from Newport.
"We had a gentleman call me, saying that he spotted the dog in Newport near an apartment building around Saratoga," Brown said. The lead was solid: the caller even noticed Olive's red harness, "which is a big deal."
The caller said that he noticed two older ladies trying to coax Olive to come to them, to no avail.
The search party, which has included any combination of more than thirty people, came to Newport and placed posters in the neighborhood.
But could a dog as timid as Olive, an abused, timid rescue dog, make her way across the Purple People Bridge? "We figured that she's not going to cross the highway and she'll stay in the neighborhood," Brown said. "The route she took north to the Bible college made sense because it doesn't cross any busy streets, but we're going to look for any leads."
Even though the search party has been large and committed, Brown and his team have tried a couple of unusual methods to track down Olive.
Jim Berns, most recently in the news as a LIbertarian candidate for Cincinnati mayor, is also a pet detective. "Everyone was like, well, we have nothing to lose," Brown said.
Berns was paid to help search on Saturday. His coon dog and bloodhound were able to track Olive's scent through the woods near the Browns' house, but Olive never turned up. Berns supplied the search effort with fifteen 30x40 signs and recommended offering a reward of $500 to increase attention.
The pet detective also game the search team another idea, called a daisy walk, in which people would each walk a half mile in each direction from the house and then immediately back. "The kicker is to leave a scent trail," Brown said.
Brown and his friends walked with Olive's owners' dirty laundry, socks, and underwear, dragging the garments on a string to various locations. "There hasn't been a search like this since the Lindbergh baby," Brown said.
Brown said that the effort has included more than fifty hours of walking and putting up posters. While the search has come up empty so far, the effort has brought neighbors together.
"There are neighbors we didn't even know till now and they are dog lovers, touched by this whole ordeal and now they're just out here on their own time," Brown said.
One more unorthodox method being used is that a pet psychic has been contacted and told the group that Olive is in someone's house right now with an address that starts with a "1" and that the street is named for a tree.
Vague, but the search party will use any tip they can get.
"I've never looked so hard for anything in my life," Brown said.
IF YOU SEE OLIVE: Email [email protected] and we will notify the owners.
Written by Michael Monks, editor & publisher of The River City News
Photos provided. Top photo shows Olive, second photo shows pet detective's dog.