Ryan Brady figured his dog Nigel would turn up quickly, just as he had when he’d escaped before.
But this time a day passed and then another, and the St. Bernard-mastiff mix was still missing after he’d gotten out from the fenced backyard of the family’s home in Greenwood, Nebraska.
Nearly two weeks after the dog disappeared, the family got a call telling them Nigel had been found — 1,300 miles from home.
The pup’s adventure started May 27 when Brady discovered the dog missing about 10 p.m. Brady still isn’t sure sure how the friendly 70-pound pup got out.
He and his wife began searching for Nigel around their yard and surrounding fields for hours, and they notified the Cass County Sheriff’s Office. But no luck.
The next day Brady began calling local shelters and veterinary offices to see if Nigel had been brought in. The dog had a microchip with the family’s phone number. He also was wearing a collar, but his name tag with the family’s number had broken off recently.
Brady passed out flyers and created a Facebook page to spread the word about the missing dog: “Where in the World is Nigel?”
After a few days Brady became worried. His law enforcement background — he’s a police officer for Metropolitan Community College — taught him that trails start to turn cold after 48 hours.
Brady and his wife told their children that Nigel might not be coming home.
But then Brady got a call from the Cubby’s convenience store next to Interstate 80 near Greenwood. An employee at the store, which is two miles from Brady’s home, had seen Nigel the night he went missing, trotting around the store’s parking lot. The employee and a trucker figured Nigel was a lost and abandoned dog.
So the trucker purchased a dog leash and dog food at the store and drove away with Nigel into the night.
Brady wasn’t giving up on his dog. He asked if the store could provide him the trucker’s name from the credit card he used to make his purchases.
After getting the trucker’s name, Brady began searching the Internet for the man. He even contacted a few trucking companies to see if they had a driver with that name, but he wasn’t able to find the man he was looking for.
Then on April 8 the family got a call.
It was a veterinary clinic in Las Vegas. A family had brought in their new dog for a checkup and shots. When the clinic’s staff scanned the pup for a microchip, they found contact info for the owner: Brady.
Joe Lefler, a member of the clinic staff, said the Las Vegas family told the animal hospital they had received the dog from a trucker friend who had gotten the dog from another trucker who had said he found the dog abandoned in Nebraska.
Brady and his family were thrilled, and he flew to Las Vegas the next day to pick up their pooch. His family had adopted the dog from Big Red Rescue of the Heartland four years earlier, and the group paid for his flight.
He said his family is grateful to the rescue group, and to everyone else who helped them reunite with their adventurous pup.