It was a Forest Hills miracle 15 hours in the making.
On Wednesday evening, Sherry, a 14-year-old dog, was rescued after she went missing a night earlier. On Thursday afternoon, she was reunited with her owners, a young couple named Robert Norbeck and Jessica Almonacid.
Michael Conigliaro, Fred Darowitsch, and this columnist were driving through the neighborhood when Conigliaro observed a dog running by his car.
He ran after the dog for five blocks along Jewel Avenue, stopping oncoming traffic. Two passersby helped escort her to the sidewalk on 113th Street.
Meir Malakov brought the dog some turkey breast and water, which was speedily consumed. The group began reaching out via social media, including posting videos made by Michael Vostok, looking for the dog’s owner.
Heddy Schmidt met the group in front of the 112th Precinct, and brought along her friend Josh, who takes care of dogs.
“When I asked if he could hold her overnight if needed, he did not hesitate,” Schmidt said.
The posts in Facebook groups went viral, and her owners were eventually found. Fourteen years ago, Sherry was adopted from North Shore Animal League America in Long Island.
“Sherry has always been very calm, docile, and friendly,” said Norbeck. “Some of our best memories with her occur on holidays like Christmas, Halloween, and birthday parties.”
Norbeck explained how Sherry escaped.
“Last Tuesday, Jessica was taking out the garbage and it was very dark,” he said. “Sherry walked out of the driveway. We walked around Forest Hills, asking people for hours.
“I feel very grateful and happy to see that there are still good people around who care about animals,” he said of her rescuers.
According to the ASPCA, the chances of finding a lost pet after 24 hours drops below 50 percent, and even lower after two days.
“I felt like my favorite football team won the Super Bowl when my wife and her friend found the owner,” said Vostek. “Tough times unfortunately bring us closer, but in those times, we can actually see how beautiful we really are.”
Schmidt has been involved in several rescues of dogs and cats.
“The more people that help spread the word, the more people that offer to help, the better the outcome for the animal in need,” she said.
Schmidt explained how she felt after finding Sherry’s owners.
“It was a beautiful series of coincidences, good hearted people, and social media that helped this sweet girl,” she said. “We all were very lucky in this rescue, but it also brings home the importance of microchipping your animal in the event something like this happens.”