Psychic called in to help find wayward Aspen pooch |

Psychic called in to help find wayward Aspen pooch

Katie Redding
Aspen, CO Colorado

ASPEN, Colorado ” Ellie Mae, a shelter dog who ran away from a volunteer dog walker, has now spent 23 days on the loose in Aspen, largely in the West End. And in all that time, no one has been able to catch her.

It’s the longest time Community Safety Officer Ryan Turner ” or any of the police officers he has talked to ” can remember a dog being loose in the city, he said.

“I can tell you it’s not normal that a dog is on the loose for that long,” Turner said.

Although Ellie Mae has been sighted dozens of times, neither shelter staff, volunteers, concerned citizens, reward-seekers, her former owner, nor the Aspen Police have been able to capture her. Even the doubling of the reward money offered by Friends of the Aspen Animal Shelter ” from $500 to $1,000 ” has not brought the skittish, one-and-a-half year old, medium-sized, beagle-shepherd mix home.

Eagle-eyed Aspenites continue to call the Aspen Animal Shelter and director Seth Sachson almost daily, with reports of Ellie Mae sightings, said Sachson. She was last seen Monday of this week, he said.

Meanwhile, attempts to catch her have included high-speed chases, traps and the use of an animal psychic ” none with any success so far.

Turner said he had chased Ellie Mae into a corner near the library several weeks ago and thought he had finally found success. Then she jumped off a six-foot wall to elude him.

A trap set up near the Villas at Aspen proved more effective with canines of a wilder variety, entrapping several foxes and coyotes, according to Turner. It was eventually discontinued, so as not to further disturb local wildlife, he said.

Even Alecia Evans, Aspen’s resident “animal communicator” ” a sort of animal psychic ” has not been able to bring Ellie Mae home.

Evans recently volunteered to help find Ellie Mae, citing previous success in that area. In the last eight years, she has found roughly 21 of the 25 pets she has looked for, she said. Generally, she contacts a runaway animal telepathically, then asks it to show her what it is looking at, she explained.

“I’m reluctant to believe in it,” said Sachson. “But when you’re desperate, your mind becomes more open.”

But Evans said when she asked Ellie Mae where she was, the runaway dog made it clear she didn’t want to be found that night.

“She doesn’t necessarily want to be caught,” Evans said, explaining that Ellie Mae isn’t sure she’ll ever be able to get over her trust issues.

“I still feel like she’s around,” Evans said. “And if there’s a chance of finding her, it’s probably going to be within the next 2 or 3 days.”

Ellie Mae ran away from a shelter volunteer after a walk on Independence Pass on March 3. She then made her way west to the “S-curves,” near the Hickory House, where she has been spotted periodically for weeks, according to Sachson. Several people, including one local resident near the Villas at Aspen, have taken to feeding her, he said.

“She’s proven herself to be a survivor,” said Sachson. “Who would have ever guessed that she’d still be on her own?”

The former shelter dog has also survived a car crash: Several weeks ago, Sachson saw Ellie Mae get tapped by a car, then run off. Those seeking her have noted that she appears to have no fear of cars, one of the reasons such extraordinary efforts have been undertaken for her capture.

Shelter staff emphasize that the best way to catch Ellie Mae is probably to trap her in a yard, then call for help.

Residents who catch Ellie Mae between the hours of 7 a.m. and 6 p.m. can call the Aspen/Pitkin Animal Shelter at 544-0206. Shelter staff will come out immediately. After hours, successful dog catchers can call Sachson’s cell phone at 274-3043.

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