Community perseverance gets dog back home

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Lexie falling asleep after being rescued. — Photo courtesy of the Sullivan-D

After five days of searching the Southern Woodlands in Oak Bluffs, owners Anne and Wesley Sullivan-Doyle and a group of committed dog lovers found Lexie, a runaway Boston terrier, and got her back home.

It all began on Tuesday, Oct. 8, when Lexie was being walked by her dog walker, Evelyn Alosso, in the afternoon and was spooked by a bike near Trade Wind Field Preserve, known as Tradewinds, in Oak Bluffs, and ran out of sight into the woods.

Things went from bad to worse as a massive nor’easter bore down on the Vineyard, bringing rain, wind, and ferry cancellations for two days straight, but the Sullivan-Doyles hoped Lexie would hunker down and wait out the storm. 

Desperate to get their beloved dog back home, the Sullivan-Doyles tried every trick in the book including social media outreach, graciously discounted posters from Tisbury Printer, tracking dogs hired from Pack Leader Pet Trackers in Rhode Island, infrared cameras, traps, and even a psychic animal communicator from California. “I don’t know how much I believe, but we did everything we possibly could,” Wesley Sullivan-Doyle said.

The couple got an outpouring of support on the Islanders Talk Facebook page from the community, many of whom offered to volunteer their time and head to Oak Bluffs to canvass the woods.

“People just didn’t give up,” Wesley Sullivan-Doyle said. “There were 20 to 40 people on any given day. You’d drive down County or Barnes Road and see people donating their day.”

The first Lexie sighting was last Thursday morning, in the middle of the storm, and was followed up by another sighting on Saturday near Bayes Hill Road, before the dog was seen jumping over a fence on Tiffany Drive. She was finally caught with the help of several community members on Sunday morning in the woods between Island Elderly Housing and the YMCA.

“She’s great. Lost a couple pounds, just a few minor scrapes and bruises. Other than that she’s happy to be back home with her sister,” Anne Sullivan-Doyle said, referring to the couple’s other Boston terrier, Addie.

As a thanks to the community, the Sullivan-Doyles are planning a community meetup at the John G. Rogers Memorial Dog Park in Vineyard Haven on Saturday, Oct. 19, at 1 pm so people can meet Lexie.

Happy to have Lexie back home safe and sound, the Sullivan-Doyles thanked the community and all those who helped for coming together and finding their dog. “The community was remarkable, how people were out looking for her,” Anne Sullivan-Doyle said.

“We can’t thank people enough for coming to our aid,” Wesley Sullivan-Doyle said.