I was about ten when we left our new Beagle puppy in the care of a family friend housesitting for us while we went on vacation.
The puppy I had named Muffin slipped between his legs and out the door one day, he said, into the streets of Washington D.C. never to return. Of course, that was long before microchips provided a certain route home if a pet ended up in a shelter or vet's office with a scanning device.
Losing a dog is one of those childhood traumas you never forget. Thinking of it now still stings. Fortunately, a few years later, a Border Collie mix puppy named Mindy entered out lives. She would share our love and family home until her death at 17.
My own experiences came back to life yesterday when I read about a Plymouth Township family, the Kreksteins, whose adopted Beagle Flash darted out last week through a door that was not closed tightly by a visiting contractor.
Panicked, the family called the police and their county shelter, the Montgomery SPCA, which assured them because Flash was microchipped if he arrived at the shelter he would be returned.
But according to NBC10 the call they got was from Main Line Animal Rescue. The Kreksteins had adopted the dog there two years earlier and the microchip was registered to the Chester County shelter. The Kreksteins were told since they had not called Main Line immediately as was stated in their contract they would not be getting their dog back.
That's when the Kreksteins took their story to NBC10.
It is not the first time Main Line Animal Rescue has refused to return a dog that escaped from an adoptive family. In 2011, a Cheyney couple sued the rescue for not returning their dog, Foxy Lady, who they had adopted four years earlier. (It's not clear how that case was resolved.)
The Krekstein seemed to,have amassed considerable support in the social media world if the 215 comments, most of them urging Main Line to return Flash, are any indication.
The couple and their tearful children say they just want their dog back.
Meanwhile, Main Line Animal Rescue founder Bill Smith posted on the NBC10 website that he has moved the dog he calls Pablo to "another rescue."
UPDATE ON 2011 CASE: Bill Smith says in an email that he prevailed in the 2011 "stolen dog" case against the Cheyney couple. Here is background on that issue.