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Missing blind pug reunited with Manitoba family after 16 days

A blind pug has been safely returned to its home in Manitoba after going missing for 16 days.

The 9-year-old dog, named Nugget, somehow got out of its Kleefeld residence this past Easter Sunday.

Described as a “velcro dog,” Nugget’s family was shocked to discover their beloved girl wasn’t home.

“We just didn’t realize that she wasn’t there. We thought she was in the house,” said Nugget’s mother Marnie Lee Mackintosh. “You’re just doing your stuff, right, because the dogs are pretty quiet. So it wasn’t until later that night I was saying like ‘where’s Nugget?’ and then all Hell broke loose and the search was on for her.”

The disappearance of the pug seemed out of character for the pet.

“If she wanders far from us or anything she usually cries for us, and barks her head off, so we’re just so completely flabbergasted why we can’t hear her or see her at this point,” said Mackintosh.

Nugget has had vision problems with one of her eyes for a long time, but essentially became fully blind last year after suffering from a stroke. She also has a number of food allergies making her parents particularly worried about the thought of her being alone to face the elements.

“It’s pretty heavily wooded (area) and farmer’s field development. There’s quite a few houses around here, but it’s newer,’ said Mackintosh. We get the coyotes, the eagles, the hawks and everything around here. So it was a little alarming at the time.”

After searching all night, Nugget’s family put up missing posters and got word out on social media about her disappearance. They also contacted neighbours, friends, and local businesses. Mackintosh said she was overwhelmed by the community’s outpouring of support.

“The community really, really responded to it,” said Mackintosh. “It’s a very caring community. And you know, having a pug in the community is very unique too. There’s not too many pugs in the community. There’s not too many blind pugs. So we really felt a lot of support right away, for the search for Nugget. Everybody started searching their backyards.A lot of people walk their dogs around here, a lot of people were walking the ditches, looking for her and it was just it was unbelievable how many people searched for her and that we couldn’t find her.”

As time went on, Mackintosh said the long days and nights without their sweet girl grew more and more difficult.

“You’re struggling to keep positive. (But) the gut instinct just felt like she was still with us and there was (the thought) to still keep looking.”

On day 16, the family said it reached a low point.

“We actually had the biggest breakdown where we both were pretty much on our knees praying with everything we had. And it was about a half an hour after that that we got the phone call from LR Horse and Pet saying I think we have Nugget,” Mackintosh said.

Nugget had been spotted on Highway 52 frantically running around.

“A number of cars had made like a kind of roadblock. There was a gentleman that recognized her from the posters, and from the area, and I’m assuming that he called her name and was able to capture her and then brought her to LR Horse and Pet where they contacted us,” Mackintosh said.

The family was overwhelmed with joy to be reunited.

“She was howling, with just so much happiness when she realized it was and we had her and it was amazing,” said Mackintosh. “When we finally bought her home, the first thing she went for was a favourite toy of hers that cookie squeaky toy, and she really hasn’t stopped playing with (that) since.”

Although she had lost weight, and had some lower back weakness, Nugget is now thriving.

“She’s totally fine. She’s back in her normal routine. She’s doing very well.”

Mackintosh says Nuggets safe return was truly a community effort.

“Every single person that was involved. I just want to thank you from the bottom of our hearts that we found Nugget. Nugget loves you all very much,” said Mackintosh.

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