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Feather River Bulletin
Quincy, California
March 4, 2015     Feather River Bulletin
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March 4, 2015

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Feather River Bulletin Wednesday, March 4, 2015 9A Ann Powers Staff Writer Move over Patsy Cline -- the Bertucci family's search for their lost dog, Dusty, plays out like a poignant country song. Appropriately, the story all started on Valentine's Day. The Bertuccis adopted the Shetland sheepdog three years ago from a rescue shelter after a previous owner abused him. Because of the mistreatment, Dusty was afraid of people, sensitive to loud noises and required medication, said Tara Bertucci. During a Feb. 14 outing at Lake Davis with her son, Shawn, Tara said Dusty ran off when startled by the sound of a gunshot in the distance and disappeared into the 1.2 million acres of Plumas National Forest. At the time, Tara's father in Montana was gravely ill and barely clinging to life. "Dad will be passing soon, according to hospice," she said. "His organs have been slowly shutting down. I hope we are able to make it back to Montana before it's too late." Tara also had a broken foot and was using crutches. This made it hard for her to look for Dusty because she couldn't easily walk or drive. "He's scared of people and I knew he wouldn't just come to anyone," she explained. "This was so difficult for me not being able to do anything to find Dusty other than call his name while sitting in the trailer or vehicle with my foot elevated. I felt so helpless." To top it all off, the family's septic system backed up at their home in Reno, creating an added crisis for Tara's husband, Tony, to deal with in the midst of an already chaotic situation. Nevertheless, that week the family made a daily pilgrimage from Reno to Lake Davis looking for their beloved pet, backed by overwhelming Bertuccis said just about every organization, business and animal lover under the Plumas County sun pitched in for Dusty's safe return. Fliers were posted, prayers were said and voices went hoarse calling the pooch's name. In addition, Tara paid a service to make 750 calls alerting people to Dusty's disappearance. While hundreds of calls went out, hundreds also came in with "Dusty sightings" -- to no avail. The support even went global with family friends from Sweden checking in, and viral after Tara created a Facebook page chronicling Dusty's dilemma. "There must have been about 1,000 people involved overall," she estimated. "I have never felt such an outpouring of love, care and concern since we moved here from Montana in 1988." Unfortunately, as the weekend rolled around again After eight harrowing days lost in the Plumas National Forest, Dusty is home safe and sound. Photos courtesy Bertucci family .... Dusty, a Shetland sheepdog, sleeps soundly among his toys following an exhaustive and extensive search to find him around Lake Davis. there was still no sign ofhis humans. Dusty. So, the Bertuccis took Following the obvious tears, it to the next level, hugs, huge sighs of relief and The family returned to Lake sloppy, wet dog kisses, the Davis and set up their search Sheltie was whisked to the and rescue operation as a veterinarian for a checkup. campsite at Honker Cove The vet said Dusty will need a Overlook. They arrived armed little TLC for a while, but with Dusty's toys, bowls, should be fine soon. blankets, towels, dog beds, "He was a little whacked leashes, clothes with their after being in the forest for so scent on them, a cage on loan long," recalled Tara. "He is from Plumas County Animal one lucky, lucky dog and we Control and a lot of red meat. are lucky owners. We are so Shawn strategically placed happy to have him back." bowls of fresh steak alongside And Dusty is happy to be the various comfort items back too. The Bertuccis report from home, leading Dusty to that their canine companion the area where his family has been eating, sleeping and anxiously waited, staying close to their sides. Finally, on the eighth day of The family plans to host a his absence, around 2 a.m., "welcome home Dusty" Dusty showed up -- hungry, celebration in Portola for tired, cold, scratched, limping those who assisted with the on bloody paws and with effort. For more information, clumps of fur missing -- but visit Dusty's Facebook page at wagging his taft at the sight of Coot Bay at Lake Davis, where Dusty went missing on Valentine's Day after being startled by the sound of a gunshot. 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