BATTLE CREEK, Mich. — A little black dog was home safe after spending weeks in the wild.Gotham, a 6-year-old Pomeranian, slipped from her collar and ran away after being spooked by another dog on March 2, 2021, at Pet Supplies Plus, 1791 W. Columbia Ave., in Battle Creek. A family member of the owners was taking her for grooming after a last minute schedule change.
Tiffany and Sean Brumbaugh they left work early when they got the news and searched the area for four hours. Devastated, they weren’t able to find her. Tiffany returned every day to try and find her, never losing hope her furry family member would somehow make it alone.
Team Seether, a volunteer Facebook group called dedicated to reunited lost pets with their families in Battle Creek, reached out the day after Gotham went missing to help with the search efforts.
“They helped with looking for her, fliers, they have live traps, and put trail cams in certain areas,” Tiffany said. “It was nice to have people coming together to help us find her.”
Someone with the group spotted Gotham running across an overpass late one night, but they were not able to track her down. Her owners continued to hang up missing posters throughout the area, even offering a $1,000 reward for her return.
Two weeks later, two maintenance workers at Battle Creek Executive Airport at Kellogg Field were heading across the airfield to fix a light when they saw a small black animal dart across the service road. The airport is a mile and a half from where Gotham went missing.
“Once you see an animal, wildlife, any type, you have to try to mitigate the situation,” said Jonathan Young, one of the airport’s operations maintenance electrician specialists. “Or in this case, rescue it.”
Animals on the property must be accounted for and removed because they present a potential hazard to aircraft taking off and landing.
Once Young and his coworker, Jim Tobias, realized it wasn’t the typical skunk, beaver, or coyote, the two sprang into action to try and catch the dog.
“She took off across the airfield and I actually got out of the truck,” Tobias said. “It went all the way to the west side, and that’s where it went across the first pond, and then into another field, then across another pond.”
Tobias waded into ice-cold, knee-deep water to grab the dog. Young laughed as he told the story.
“I let him grow legs and handle that one, I knew he could handle that,” he said.
The two quickly realized there was a good chance they had found someone’s pet. Aside from being cold, scared, and covered in some ticks, the dog’s fur wasn’t too tangled or mangy.
They took the dog to an animal shelter where someone recognized the little black face as Gotham, who had been missing for two weeks.
Young quickly picked up the phone to call the number listed on the missing poster.
“I called her two, three times. Figured I was going to keep calling her until she answered,” Young said. “If you’ve been missing a dog for 14 days, you want that call.”
“As soon as he described where he found her, described her, and that they didn’t want a reward, I was ecstatic,” Tiffany said. “Lots of tears, yeah.”
Tiffany arranged to pick up the dog from her veterinarian, a reunion she won’t forget.
“As soon as I held her, she stopped shaking and she wagged her tail,” Tiffany said. “It was really when we got home, and Sean had brought all the kids out into the driveway. She was just whining, and just wagging her tail. Just so excited, she wanted to play.”
The family reunited by two men who said they were just doing their job.
“I’m sure she went through a lot of stuff to stay alive,” Young said. “But she had to be loved to stay alive.”
“They’re such amazing people, and we can’t thank them enough for what they’ve done for us,” Tiffany said. “We have three kids, and she’s the center of their world. Having her back means a lot.”