Last summer one Snoqualmie family had their lives briefly turned upside down when their dog went missing in Oregon. Russell the Labradoodle was staying with ‘his grandparents’ while the Clarks were on vacation when the adventure began.
All it took was one loud noise and one broken collar and Russell was on the loose in Rowena, OR – a small town on the Columbia River Gorge between Hood River and The Dalles – and a long way from his familiar surroundings.
Russell got loose on August 2nd and for eight days the family searched tirelessly, using social media, fliers, large roadside signs – anything they could thing of to draw attention to missing Russell. There were sightings during the week that were dead ends, but the Clarks never gave up.
Then August 10th, a rural neighbor of the Clark’s grandparents in Rowena returned home from a long fishing trip and decided to take his dog to the groomer for the first time in a decade. This was where he saw Russell’s lost dog flier. Later when he drove up his long gravel driveway and arrived home, he found the same flier on his door step. Not long after that, the man discovered a scared white Labradoodle hiding under his porch.
Russell was found. Dirty, smaller, thirsty, hungry. He was so unrecognizable that a local vet had to scan his chip just to ensure it actually was Russell.
He returned home to his family looking a big different as all of his matted fur had to be shaved. But he was home.
Russell’s journey was documented in a blog post by owner Janice Clark, who was thrilled to have their beloved four-legged family member home after a long week of searching.
Janice thought that was the end of it until a surprise ended up in her mailbox just before Christmas: a children’s book about Russell’s journey.
Her friend’s 16-year old daughter, Grace Shilling, was inspired by Russell’s story and how the community came together to help find him. So she illustrated and authored a book called ‘Come Home Russell’ and published it to Amazon.
Janice said she knew Grace had been drawing pictures of Russell’s journey, but until the book arrived in her mailbox with a sweet note, she had no idea it had become a book.
To top it all off, Grace has used the proceeds to help others. Janice said so far the sales proceeds from ‘Come Home Russell’ have been used for charitable works.
Shortly before Christmas, Grace and her family delivered 90 ‘Blessing Bags’ to the Tacoma Rescue Mission. After passing out the bags, Grace then read ‘Come Home Russell’ to families at the mission.