Lost Dogs in Westport: The Effort to Bring Andy and Ozzy Home

Eliza Llewellyn, Staff Writer

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The faces of Andy and Ozzy, two missing dogs, are plastered on telephone poles and windows throughout Westport and Fairfield County and can even be seen reposted on blogs and Facebook pages.

Jordina Ghiggeri, the owner of Andy, an 11-year-old Corgi lost on Jan. 1, has employed flyers, trackers, and news broadcasts in her extensive search. The Greenblatt family has also taken their search for Ozzy, a five-year-old Brussels Griffin lost on Jan. 14, to the next level. The owners’ intense searches for both dogs have made them and their loss a presence in the community. “The more people talk about it, the more chance we have of another sighting,” Ghiggeri said.

Ghiggeri spread the word of Andy’s loss through signs that can be seen all around Westport. Ghiggeri also recorded Amber Alerts for her dog –these telephone calls can be done for pets.  “It’s ridiculously expensive. We spent $1,200 in two days,” she said. “But we do it after every sighting.”

The signs and calls have generated buzz around the community. Mari Carroll, Bookkeeper at Staples, Corgi breeder, and member of various breed associations, has heard talk about Andy both within the Corgi network and from other Westporters. “I can’t tell you the number of people who have asked me, ‘Do you know about this dog?’” she said.

On New Year’s Eve, when Ghiggeri was visiting Westport from Massachusetts, Andy was scared by loud fireworks and fled. Ozzy was lost a few weeks later when he left the family’s property at 11 p.m. The Greenblatts believe he ran through his electric fence but did not return as he was deterred by the shock of the fence.

According to Peter D’Amico, the Westport animal control officer, Andy and Ozzy are the only two dogs recently reported lost out of Westport. Although this number is not abnormal, the two lost pets stand out due to their owners’ extensive efforts to find them.

Ghiggeri has utilized everything from cameras to traps to find her dog and is offering a $2,000 reward for his safe return. After a sighting, she sets up motion detecting cameras and baited traps. She also organizes groups of volunteers to stake out the spot.

In her efforts to find Andy, Ghiggeri has enlisted the help of the community. Although she lives in Massachusetts, she met many people willing to help put up flyers and stake out areas where Andy had been spotted. She also posted flyers and signs in local businesses. “Westport is so dog friendly,” Ghiggeri said.

According to Zoe Greenblatt ‘12, Ozzy’s owner, the community has donated enough money to fund an ad for Ozzy in the Connecticut Post.  Other people have helped post flyers and send emails about Ozzy to raise awareness.

With a shared loss, the Greenblatt family and Ghiggeri have been in touch with each other. “The Andy group has definitely been really encouraging and helpful,” Greenblatt said. “Wherever my mom puts up posters she does one for Andy too.” Ghiggeri in turn suggested a dog tracker to help find Ozzy.

Through her search efforts, Ghiggeri feels as though she has learned organization and efficiency. “If I knew five weeks ago what I know now, I’d have already found my dog,” she said. The ongoing search for Andy has successfully found another lost dog, Lana, who had been living as a stray for almost two years until being captured in a trap set for Andy. Ghiggeri hopes to help other dogs as well. She plans to use her experience in the future to benefit others with lost pets and to continue spreading awareness of lost pets through a Facebook page and website.

Online, both dogs have a presence. The “Bring Andy Home” Facebook page has over 2,600 fans, while the “Bring Ozzy Home” page has over 520. The “Bring Andy Home” website details sightings and search efforts.

Both dogs have been seen around the area recently, with Ozzy spotted in Fairfield on Feb. 3 and an Andy sighting in Norwalk on Jan 24. However, both are skittish and will run away if approached. Ozzy is shy by nature, and according to Ghiggeri, Andy has become scared after being chased by groups of people interested in his monetary reward. “I got calls from people saying ‘What’s the prize money on that dog?’” Ghiggeri said.

According to Carroll, one of the biggest dangers to lost dogs is the large coyote population. D’Amico also emphasized the effect of environmental factors on survival, including weather and temperature. He recommended that pets be kept inside at night. Carroll pointed out the importance of microchips in helping the chances of finding a lost dog.

Ghiggeri recognizes the realities of life and death that come with losing a pet. She regularly checks with the Department of Transportation for information about animals that have been run over. “I have to know,” Ghiggeri said. “I won’t stop searching until I know what’s happened.”  Greenblatt is also determined to find her dog. “Both dogs are still being seen so we will not give up,” she said.

The search for both dogs is ongoing and gaining support. Andy and Ozzy will be featured on a News 12 segment airing Feb. 18 and 19.

Anyone who sees either dog should immediately call Animal Control at (203)-341-6000 (emergency number) or (203)-247-1747 for Ozzy or (781)-264-5243 for Andy.

 

 

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