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The search for Spring

Swiss, a Greater Bernese Mountain Dog, is 100 pounds and is tri-colored - mostly black with white on her chest, head, neck, feet and brown on her eyebrows, cheeks and chest. Spring is wearing a black harness with a bell and tags and a green collar.
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BELLYACHE RIDGE – When the word went out about a missing Swiss Mountain Dog, more than 50 people showed up to help the dog’s owners, Susan and Michael, search over the weekend.

Some are still out there, looking for Spring. She’s 100 pounds of unbridled enthusiasm and she’s been missing for what’s beginning to be a long time.

On April 15, she was hiking with Susan and Michael when some deer ran across the trail. Instead of chasing the deer, she ran in the opposite direction. She has not been seen since.

Spring is wearing a black harness with a bell and tags and a green collar.

Those 50 or so people gathered Saturday in Wolcott, scouring the mountains and valleys between Bellyache Ridge and Eagle.

“We just want to get some other eyes looking for her. She might be hiding under someone’s deck,” Susan said.

Susan and Michael asked that they’re last names not be used in this story because they worry that some people might try to potentially scam them.

Spring knows a guy who knows a girl who helped organize the searching party.

Laura is a dog lover who works in a real estate office. She knows Steve who organizes political campaigns. They rounded up a bunch of dog owners, mostly locals who love dogs – theirs and most other people’s.

“One man was on vacation and he showed up to help,” Susan said.

Some people spent all day Saturday searching, Susan said. Dogs tend to circle back to places they’re familiar with, so they started at the top of Bellyache Ridge and worked their way west.

They had seen Spring’s paw prints in the snow and mud, but since Friday they haven’t seen much evidence.

The tracks indicated Spring was dragging her right foot, which she does when she’s tired, Susan said. She might be hunkered down.

“With 50 up there and all eyes watching, if she’d have surfaced someone would have spotted her,” Susan said.

They’ll keep searching, Susan said.

Susan and Michael adopted Spring when she was 2 years old. She is a Greater Swiss Mountain Dog, 100 pounds and is tri-colored – mostly black with white on her chest, head, neck, feet and brown on her eyebrows, cheeks and chest.

She looks like a short-haired Bernese Mountain Dog and has the same happy-go-lucky temperament, her owners said.

Spring trained with Mark Ruark Dog Training in Edwards and volunteers as a neutral dog for the Eagle Valley Humane Society “shelter” class on Tuesday nights at the Eagle County Fairgrounds.

“She lays down in the middle of class and she’s a calming influence on the other dogs,” Susan said.

Spring and her humans moved to Bellyache Ridge in 2009, where they hike the cell-tower trail several times a week.

While the search didn’t turn up Spring, it was a success because they now know she’s mobile – she’s no longer in Bellyache.

Spring will likely be close to houses at night, and might bed down under porches, decks, in open garages or sheds or under nearby trees or bushes, Susan said. She is drawn to water such as ponds, rivers, streams and drainage ditches.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or rwyrick@vaildaily.com.


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