Community Rallies to Find Pup Lost in Desert

Winnie | Image by Fox 4 KDFW

A young Labradoodle ended up saved twice in the span of 19 days — first from the shelter and then from the Arizona desert.

Babette and Curtis Beaupre, who had recently moved to Maricopa, just south of Phoenix, adopted a 1-year-old pup from a shelter in Tempe and named her Winnie. However, the sweet rescue was in rough shape due to neglect.

“She was awfully matted and needed a bath and groom,” explained Babette, according to Fox 4 KDFW.

The Beaupres stopped on their way back home to get Winnie groomed at an establishment along State Route 347. However, the makeover proved disastrous. 

“She slips out of her collar because I think her hair was conditioned and smooth, and she got out and ran like the wind,” recalled Babette.

The frightened pup took off, and there was no stopping her.

“We got in the car and tried to follow her. She was in full panic mode, as fast as she could go,” Curtis said.

The Beaupres mobilized to find Winnie, searching the streets, combing social media reports of found animals, and checking shelters. They also published their own posts and distributed fliers, desperate to bring Winnie home amid dangerous environmental conditions.

“It was outrageous. A hundred degrees for 10 days straight. There are vultures circling around. We think we’re seeing her and couldn’t find her. Foxes, coyotes. First day we put a trap out there was a rattlesnake next to the trap, so we moved the trap. No luck still,” said Curtis.

The community reported several sightings of Winnie, still donning the groomer’s ribbon, over the following weeks. 

Residents told the Beaupres that they saw her everywhere from a McDonald’s to an Auto Zone; from the mountains to the southwest to the tribal community to the northwest. Yet each sighting ended in vain as Winnie apparently slipped away before anyone could get ahold of her. 

The fact that her new owners were strangers to her didn’t help things.

“We just couldn’t get her. Tried lassoing her, but she’d slip out. Get in a foot or two, but she didn’t know us and she’d take off again,” Curtis said.

Yet no one was ready to give up on Winnie.

Bob Coester, a veteran pilot, took to the skies to try and spot the elusive dog while Humane Animal Rescue and Trapping Team Arizona (HARTT) aimed to trap her.

Eventually, with the tribal police helping to block off a road, HARTT was able to capture a thin and weary Winnie and return her to the Beaupres on October 28.

“Definitely takes a village!” remarked volunteer Sherry L. Girard on Facebook.

The Beaupres have nothing but gratitude for the community, who against all odds never gave up hope of bringing Winnie back home safely.

“Just like, wow. Nobody [was] giving up on this girl. No one,” Babette exclaimed.

While Winnie was rescued twice over, shelters across the country are still full of animals waiting for their forever homes. For instance Dallas Animal Services is facing an overcrowding crisis, with its dog kennels currently at 140% capacity, as covered previously in The Dallas Express

Anyone looking to help out by adopting, fostering, or volunteering is encouraged to contact the shelter. 

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