- Associated Press - Saturday, May 16, 2015

PENDLETON, Ore. (AP) - After Crystal Sullenger’s dog vanished four years ago, she gradually gave up hope she would ever see Star again.

Sullenger had stepped out into her fenced yard one day to check on her 11-month-old pit bull only to find her dog was gone. Distraught, she plastered her North Portland neighborhood with photos of the sweet, high-energy puppy. She drove slowly down neighborhood streets, gradually expanding the search to a 10-mile radius.

“I looked for her and looked for her,” said Sullenger. “After two years, I stopped looking.”

She and her husband adopted two other pit bulls. Eventually, they moved to Pendleton, where Sullenger now manages the PAWS animal shelter.

On May 8, Sullenger got a shock when someone from Multnomah County Animal Services emailed to inform her that Star had turned up. Police found the dog during a drug raid on a house in the St. Johns neighborhood. Star still wore her original collar with the same now-expired license.

“They were too cheap to license her on their own,” Sullenger said.

She viewed an online photo of the dog and knew instantly it was Star. She arranged for a friend to transport the dog as far as Biggs, where she was transferred to a driver from Traveling Paws for the remainder of the journey. Sullenger rendezvoused with the driver at the Pendleton Burger King on May 9. Star initially seemed uncertain, then ran to Sullenger.

“I was in tears,” she said. “It was amazing.”

She noticed an injury to Star’s rear left leg and “toenails curled under so far she could hardly walk.” The toenails were painted red. The dog’s body showed evidence of being bred multiple times.

The dog doesn’t venture too far away from Sullenger these days.

“She sits with her paws over the edge of the bathtub when I take a shower,” Sullenger said.

Star also accompanies Sullenger to work. As Sullenger talked, the pit bull wandered around the PAWS entry area, wagging her tail as a customer entered and then bent down to scratch the dog behind the ears.

Star, who has bonded with the other canines in the Sullenger household, has gotten extra pampering. She’s been trimmed and groomed and is up to date on her shots. She has an appointment for spaying and microchipping.

Sullenger said she lives on tribal land, which doesn’t have dog licensing, but she urged those who have the option to “license your pets.”


Information from: East Oregonian, https://www.eastoregonian.info

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