Marine Delune was worried sick. Ruthie, her West Highland White Terrier, had gone missing.
It had been a typical day for the Belfast, Maine resident when Ruthie had jumped from her parked car and chased something down the street, dragging her retractable leash in tow.
For two days, Delune could think about nothing else as she hoped for the best.
“I cannot tell you how tortured I was by the thought of her being scared, so scared, and so cold,” Delune told Bangor Daily News.
Delune was unable to do much searching for Ruthie on her own. She has cerebral palsy and chronic Lyme disease, which have caused her to suffer profound hearing loss and progressive paralysis. Fortunately, Delune, a former city councilor, could rely on the community she had served.
“This community is such a big dog community… And because Marina is a disabled person, and couldn’t search herself, it was easy to want to help her,” Raymelle Moody, administrator of the “You Know You Love Belfast If…” Facebook page explained to Bangor Daily News.
Dozens of volunteers spread out to search the area’s parks and neighborhoods, braving rain and cold to find Delune’s beloved dog. Nearly two days had passed without much progress, but the community continued to respond.
For Kimberly Mitchell, the case hit close to home. Mitchell is also an animal lover who deals with her own disabilities, and she empathized with Delune’s situation. As she drove her car to Delune’s home to talk and discuss how she could help, she explained that she felt a strong pull — the dog was nearby.
Knowing that a good hunch should never go to waste, she began looking in the yards of nearby homes until she found one that had a small hole under its deck. There, in the darkness, Ruthie stared back at her rescuer. She was cold, a little dirty, and very hungry, but uninjured.
“I got numb. I knew in that moment, I was witnessing a miracle. There was no thought in my head. It was all heart. I think that it was the collective love of the whole community,” Mitchell later explained to BDN.
Now reunited, Delune and Ruthie have more time together — a precious gift made possible by the community of Belfast and their hard work!