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Searching for Labby

Lost in FD, dog is 1,250 miles away from home

May 11, 2011
By LINDSEY MUTCHLER Messenger staff writer , Messenger News

He's black Labrador and 1,250 miles away from home.

So far, he has more than 200 friends on Facebook praying for his owners in New York and searching to find him in Fort Dodge.

Members of the Fort Dodge community have been trying to find Labby since he got out of the AmericInn where his owners, Kristi and Rob Blassberg, were staying April 29.

Article Photos

Labby is a black Labrador mix who is lost in Fort Dodge. He was last seen in the St. Edmond Catholic School area near Fourth Avenue North. However, a sighting was reported near Duncombe Elementary School Wednesday morning.

Labby's plight

Labby was staying with his owners and three other dogs at AmericInn, while the Blassbergs were in town for Kristi's mother's funeral.

He was a rescue dog the Blassbergs encountered with their work at nonprofit dog rescue called Rescue for Life.

Fact Box

Labby is a black male Labrador that ran away from AmericInn April 29. He was last seen May 6 in the St. Edmond Catholic School area near Fourth Avenue North.

Labby is microchipped, neutered and fully vaccinated. He does need medication for Lyme Disease, and could be irritable if the symptoms have set in and made his joints sore.

He has a white patch on his chest and is a longer haired Lab mix with a curled tail. He's wearing a black nylon collar with three tags, his rabies, microchip and his identification tag with his name and Blassbergs' phone number.

If you see Labby don't chase him. Rather, talk to him in a low soothing voice. He answers to Labby or Crabby. Take food, like hot dogs or hamburger, to entice him. Blassberg said he's fed canned dog food and loves the sound of the can opener. He also enjoys playing with other dogs, she said.

If you find or spot Labby, call Julie Tucker at 351-2494, she will come pick him up.

"They (AmericInn) were fully aware of why we were coming and encouraged us to bring our dogs," Blassberg said.

Long story short, the stay ended badly with dogs barking, hotel employees contacting animal control and the police, and Labby running from the hotel after the Blassbergs left for a few hours the evening of April 29.

"The scary thing is I don't know what he went through in the hotel," Blassberg said. "It's out of character for him to be this terrified of people."

Blassberg described Labby as very sweet and dorky but very scared.

Community steps in

Blassberg said she and Rob searched until they couldn't search anymore and had to head back to New York.

"It was a 20 hour drive home, and we were just horrified," Blassberg said.

Then a friend sent her a text message around 2:30 a.m. text message that she started a Help Find Labby Facebook page. Blassberg said she jumped on immediately uploading photos and info of her beloved dog.

Within 24 hours 100 people were on the site and as of Tuesday more than 200 are listed as friends.

"It's unbelievable," said Blassberg. "There are so many strangers I couldn't even begin to pretend to know who are out there looking for him."

Labby sightings

The Labrador was last seen in the St. Edmond Catholic Schools area on Fourth Avenue North. Blassberg said people have posted that they're setting out food and water for him.

While he was almost caught May 6, Labby hasn't been spotted since.

However, that changed Wednesday morning. Labby has possibly been sighted near Duncombe Elementary School.

However, Blassberg isn't giving up hope.

"I'm in shock," she said. "I never expected anything like this at all. Just to have people who don't know us praying for us every day and hoping for updates. Who are these people? It's amazing."

Who are these people?

The Messenger was able to track down two individuals who've been posting to Facebook Laura Crowl and Cindy Sturtz, both of Fort Dodge.

Crowl said she's been searching for Labby whenever she's on that side of town.

"I've told my kids and friends to look for him too, poor dog," said Crowl. "I just feel so bad for those people."

Crowl said she has one dog and has taken care of some rescue dogs before which is why she feels compelled to do what she can to help bring Labby home.

"I haven't heard of a sighting since last Friday," Crowl said. "I just hope they find him."

Sturtz said she doesn't consider herself an animal person but has searched for Labby.

She said she's driven around the Fourth Avenue North area because she wants to help.

"I think it's a good thing we can do as a community," Sturtz said. "I can't imagine being in New York hoping that someone finds my dog and doesn't hurt it."

Contact Lindsey Mutchler at (515) 573-2141 or



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