For more than a year and a half, Pat Panek has been diligently searching for Bridgett, her missing female Siberian Husky. Bridgett went missing from her residence in Littleton, MA just after Thanksgiving in 2011. Originally from a puppy mill where she was forced to birth litter after litter of puppies, Bridgett wound up in a high kill shelter until she met her rescuer.
As most dog guardians know, dogs pick their owner. Panek knew Bridgett was the one, and brought her home to a life full of love and caring. But Bridgett suffered from a past of small, cramped spaces and a negative experience with humans, making Bridgett nervous, shy and easily spooked. This has caused Bridgett to hide well in her new found habitat.
With a spattering of sightings, Panek has every reason to believe Bridgett is still in the area. Her last known sighting was caught by a trail camera in March 2013. Bridgett’s comfort zone spans the surrounding area, which includes West Concord, South Acton, Maynard and North Sudbury.
Bridgett was still wearing her collar and tags when she was last seen.
“Someone is seeing this dog, she’s not in someone’s home, and I really don’t believe she is dead.. invisible yes, dead no,” says Panek.
Panek has put up posters, constructed signs and distributed fliers. She has used scent trackers and what she calls “Bridgett’s Brigade”, a group of dedicated individuals who have searched on foot, built kennels and set up humane traps with food stations.
As if her loving companion missing was not enough, her posters are being taken down and it has become costly to constantly replace them. Calls regarding sightings have decreased dramatically as a result of the posters being taken down.
Panek does not understand, stating “a lost pet or person poster on a telephone pole never killed a person or a town, but they have absolutely saved the lives of many. Is an 11 x 17 piece of paper really that much of a blight? ”
Searching for a missing pet can drain the strongest of individuals. But Panek has been a beacon of light for many others whose pets are also missing. She urges others to realize that “animals can and do survive for years on their own. Rarely are they taken by predators, the friendlier ones might be in a new home, or hit by a car. They don’t usually freeze to death. They just survive and so many are left out there because people believe what others, who have no direct knowledge, are telling them about the fate of their pet.”
Panek has set up a Facebook page, Help Bring Bridgett Home, to reach out to as many people as possible since exposure is crucial for Bridgett’s return home.
“I am a realist and know that she is only as alive as the moment of her last sighting, but I feel in my gut/soul her presence. I think she is still very much alive,” says Panek.
If you have any information or spot Bridgett, please call or text 978-853-4087. For more information on Bridgett’s disappearance, please visit Help Bring Bridgett Home.
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