, Salem, MA

August 27, 2013

A happy homecoming for missing dog

By Dave Rogers
Staff Writer

---- — AMESBURY — Super sleepy and sporting a few bumps, scrapes and cuts after 11 days on the road, Maya, a honey-colored mixed-breed dog, was reunited with her owner, Caitlin Flanagan, on Sunday after the hound was found underneath the porch of a Newburyport house.

The search for Flanagan’s 41/2-year-old pooch began Aug. 14, when the woman who was walking her was hit by a car in the crosswalk at the corner of Main and Friend streets. Frightened, Maya fled before she could be corralled by emergency responders. Since then, Flanagan and many others have spent countless hours searching for Maya.

Flanagan said Maya, about 6 or 7 pounds lighter than when she disappeared, was found by the owners of a Phillips Drive home who had just returned from vacation. Phillips Drive is off Storey Avenue in the western part of the city across the street from Turkey Hill Road, close to the West Newbury border. The Newburyport residents quickly found a Facebook page about Maya created by Flanagan’s brother and made the connection.

“She apparently wants to be across the river,” Flanagan said yesterday as she stroked Maya’s fur.

As for the dog walker, Flanagan said she was doing better but was still nursing injuries acquired during the collision. She’s quite relieved Maya is back home safe.

“Though it wasn’t her fault, she felt terrible,” Flanagan said.

Flanagan, a math teacher at North Andover High School, had moved to Amesbury in July, making the search all the more difficult for the Carriagetown newcomer. But immediately after Maya was reported missing, word spread more quickly than she could have ever imagined. Flanagan said she knew Amesbury was a dog-friendly community, judging by all the water bowls outside numerous businesses, but she was astounded by all the support she received.

Yesterday, in a matter of a few minutes, two women stopped to congratulate Flanagan on the return of the dog. Of course, both women petted Maya, who didn’t seem to mind the attention.

Maya’s return came only a day before Flanagan had to return to the classroom.

“This couldn’t have happened at a better time,” she said.

Amesbury police officer Thomas Hanshaw said recovery efforts were greatly enhanced by Facebook and a newspaper article that alerted thousands to Maya’s disappearance. Hanshaw said officer Ronald Guilmette posted Maya’s photo on Facebook shortly after her disappearance, generating thousands of views and many comments.

“That was pretty impressive,” Hanshaw said.

Following Maya’s recovery, Flanagan expressed her gratitude to the Amesbury Police Department and others via Facebook, as well. Asked yesterday what she was going to do for the rest of the day, Flanagan said she and Maya were going to hang out and enjoy the last day of summer.