Love lost and found

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 23, 2016

It is a pet-owner’s nightmare when their beloved family member goes missing.

Calls are made, pictures are posted and prayers are prayed, and when days turn into weeks of no news on the furry friend, doubts begin to grow and hope wanes.

Joe and Mindy Giambrone know first hand that feeling of despair, but on Tuesday the couple were finally reunited with Belle — their chocolate Labrador retriever of nine years.

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“I love a happy ending,” Mindy said, of finding Belle, who had been missing since December.

The family was in Florida when Belle dug out of her pen and wandered off.

“Evidently on Dec. 30 people in the neighborhood started shooting a lot of fireworks that morning,” Mindy said, and the sitter, who lives close by, heard the noise and immediately went to check on Belle. He knew that she was afraid of the noise, Mindy said.

Unfortunately by the time he arrived, Belle had already dug out.

“There were sightings of her that day and the next day, but people just didn’t put two and two together because she is always inside in the house or in her pen.”

Since the family was still out of town, the only thing they could do was to start calling their friends who started looking everywhere for Belle.

“Everyone was lovely,” Mindy said.

Belle was still on the lam when the family returned home, so they started posting flyers in areas where they thought she could have escaped.

“We got on a website to see the exact way to do it, (make flyers) you know to really make them visible and so they wouldn’t fall apart during the rain.”

This brought about a few sightings and then they just completely stopped, Mindy said.

“I think the trail went completely cold about two weeks ago, maybe two and half. We were just sick and couldn’t sleep.”

As a teacher at St. Francis, Mindy said her students volunteered to help her out by continuing to keep an eye out for Belle, and she also turned to prayer.

“I had several faculty members and clergy help me pray to the patron Saints of lost animals.”

As time began to drag on and with no new sightings, Mindy said she felt like someone had Belle.

“She is crazy like Marley, (the dog in John Grogan’s Marley and Me) and I knew if she was loose somebody would see her,” Mindy said, but nothing — until this week.

“Joe got a phone call Tuesday morning, and he really felt terrible because he was a little short with the man.”

He was expecting it to be another dead end, but after following through and going to the man’s house, owner and dog were together again.

Joe took Belle to the veterinarian to have her checked out, Mindy said, and it was there that he called her about the news.

“I was in the middle of class when I got the call and of course my kids go crazy and the school goes crazy.”

Mindy said she rushed to the vet and what happened after she got there was heartwarming.

“This is so sweet, I turn the corner and she (Belle) starts crying. It was so wonderful.”

Sadly, however, after being examined, it did appear that someone had been holding Belle against her will.

“It looked like somebody had her tied her up or chained up and were not feeding her. She had lost almost 20 pounds and she had a big wound on her neck that had already scabbed over, which led us to believe that whoever had her had had her awhile.”

Mindy said Belle’s behavior has been a bit more reserved since returning home, but she is beginning to see some normalcy return.

“This morning she did start eating a little bit more and her tail was wagging again, and she started jumping around a little bit more.”

Mindy said beside feeling relieved that Belle is home, she and Joe are also grateful for all the outpouring and concern they have experienced.

“We are so thankful. People have just been amazing! So many people were helping us from all over and we have just been overwhelmed.”


About Terri Cowart Frazier

Terri Frazier was born in Cleveland. Shortly afterward, the family moved to Vicksburg. She is a part-time reporter at The Vicksburg Post and is the editor of the Vicksburg Living Magazine, which has been awarded First Place by the Mississippi Press Association. She has also been the recipient of a First Place award in the MPA’s Better Newspaper Contest’s editorial division for the “Best Feature Story.”

Terri graduated from Warren Central High School and Mississippi State University where she received a bachelor’s degree in communications with an emphasis in public relations.

Prior to coming to work at The Post a little more than 10 years ago, she did some freelancing at the Jackson Free Press. But for most of her life, she enjoyed being a full-time stay at home mom.

Terri is a member of the Crawford Street United Methodist Church. She is a lifetime member of the Vicksburg Junior Auxiliary and is a past member of the Sampler Antique Club and Town and Country Garden Club. She is married to Dr. Walter Frazier.

“From staying informed with local governmental issues to hearing the stories of its people, a hometown newspaper is vital to a community. I have felt privileged to be part of a dedicated team at The Post throughout my tenure and hope that with theirs and with local support, I will be able to continue to grow and hone in on my skills as I help share the stories in Vicksburg. When asked what I like most about my job, my answer is always ‘the people.’

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