Radar, runaway dog, returned home safely

Amy Carey of Vashon Island Pet Protectors said volunteers worked tirelessly to recover the dog.

Volunteers placed sandwich boards along Vashon Highway warning drivers to be mindful of Radar (Paul Rowley/Staff Photo).

Volunteers placed sandwich boards along Vashon Highway warning drivers to be mindful of Radar (Paul Rowley/Staff Photo).

Radar, an enigmatic and beloved Boston terrier, accidentally got loose from a pet sitter and led volunteers — along with Vashon Island Pet Protectors — on a four-day chase to capture and return her safely back home.

Wearing a bright pink fleece jacket, Radar fled from her caregiver on the afternoon of Dec. 31, leaving her owner, Summer Lydston-Devlin, “completely shell-shocked.”

“She’s our baby,” Lydston-Devlin told The Beachcomber as the search and recovery effort was underway, noting the dog’s penchant for showing affection by rubbing her face in people’s hair. “Everybody who meets her just falls in love with Radar. She’s just a clown.”

Over the next several days, the dog was seen in the area near SW 204th St and Vashon Highway. But Amy Carey, who coordinates VIPP’s dog program and led the search for Radar, cautioned at the time that the dog could be anywhere further south, from Judd Creek to Cemetery Road, and for drivers to mind their speed.

In an interview with The Beachcomber, Carey said that dropping temperatures were not the biggest threat to the dog. Radar, in survival mode before her capture according to Carey, was unfamiliar with the area where she was loose and often walked onto the busy road, posing an imminent danger to the dog’s own safety as well as that of speeding motorists, who volunteers feared may swerve out of the way to avoid hitting her.

She did not respond to well-meaning calls from those who spotted her — the dog would run in the opposite direction at breakneck speed, even away from Lydston-Devlin’s husband, who caught his own glimpse of Radar before she took off.

Thankfully, last Saturday, Radar gingerly took to a live trap that Carey set after receiving word that she was in the area, and before long, the dog was reunited with her relieved family. Though she suffered some scratches and tremendous stress, Radar was in good condition overall.

While the outcome was everything hoped for by those who stepped up to help, the dog had some close calls, noted Carey, especially with drivers.

“As always, the risk is cars here,” Carey said. “She was inches away many times from getting hit.”

Still, Carey said there was plenty to be fortunate for.

“There was a whole team of VIPP volunteers, community volunteers; the owners were so dedicated and over the top in their efforts to get her. It was just quite remarkable,” said Carey, adding that dogs in similar circumstances typically revert quickly to their socialized, domesticated selves once they are returned home. Carey said that within hours of Radar’s capture and return home, Lydston-Devlin’s family sent her photos of the dog nestled on the couch and playing with her toys.

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