During a brief vacation in Glen Falls, New York, Sandra Miranda and her family dropped their Australian Shepherd Alfie off at GF-K9 daycare. Alfie was supposed to be at daycare for just a few hours on June 22nd while the family went on a steamboat ride since pets aren’t allowed.
The purpose of a boarding facility like this is to give people comfort that their pups are being well-cared for while they are temporarily away. In this family’s upsetting case, dropping their dog off at daycare is what led to Alfie’s disappearance.
A Few Hours Turns Into An Ongoing Nightmare
A stunned Sandra Miranda told the Glen Falls Chronicle the family only left Alfie at GF-K9 to “concentrate a little, like for three hours, on family time…” When they came back to pick Alfie up later, an employee greeted Miranda with some “bad news.”
“I thought they were going to tell me another dog attacked my dog, something like that. I never imagined in my life that they were going to say the dog is gone.”
Prior to their arrival at the daycare, no one had contacted Alfie’s family about his disappearance. The daycare’s owner, Mike Tartaglione, said he reviewed the security footage and couldn’t understand how Alfie escaped.
“It was like he was teleported 50, 60 feet into the parking lot… I feel terrible. I haven’t slept. I’m beside myself.”
Miranda was appalled by the situation in the immediate aftermath of Alfie’s disappearance but wanted to focus more on finding her dog and less on fighting GF-K9.
“[Tartaglione has] been helping, but to be honest, it’s just really hard to be working with him. Because it’s a reminder — you lost my dog.”
It’s still not clear how Alfie escaped, but, unfortunately, no one noticed or reported the incident sooner. A former employee of GF-K9, Heidi Williams, told News10 that she left the business after complaining about the treatment of some animals that Tartaglione allegedly did little to address.
“It came down to the point where this has happened too many times, too many dogs have died, been lost, abused, and neglected and now we need to take a stand because they can’t speak for themselves.”
Others in the community used Alfie’s disappearance to demand more accountability for animal care facilities in general. Local Elizabeth Dragon said:
“We know that children’s daycares get inspected, why can’t animals, because we know they are getting neglected.”
The Search For Alfie
Miranda ended up staying an extra week to keep looking for Alfie while her family had to return to their home in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She did everything possible to search for her dog, including reaching out to experts, posting in local “lost pet” Facebook groups, and contacting businesses in the area.
Josh Grassi with Clifton Park Pet Search helped provide expertise and resources for Miranda and the good samaritans aiding in the search. Several people went out looking for the pup after seeing posts and flyers.
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Since GF-K9 removed Alfie’s collar, he had no identifying tags. Miranda and Grassi shared photos of Alfie and encouraged others out looking for him not to chase him or call his name if they saw him.
Picking Up Alfie At Last
Several times over the weeks the group spent tracking, there were reports that Alfie had been spotted around the area. Then on July 9th, 2022, eighteen days since the family dropped him off at GF-K9, Alfie was found. Someone spotted him in their backyard and contacted Miranda.
“They let us know that our dog was in their backyard and there I was, I picked him up and he just came to me,” the dog’s mom said.
In a Facebook post on July 10th, Miranda thanked the community for their support. Without the help of many people, Alfie may never have been found.
“During the 18 days of his absence, we became overwhelmed by the number of people who took our cause as their own. From the hundreds of calls we received, to the numerous people we witnessed walking the neighborhood where he was hiding, looking for our dog, we were amazed.”
It’s remarkable that Alfie was found, given his lack of IDs. Fortunately, the Glen Falls community stepped up, and Alfie’s mom refused to give in.
Alfie went right to the vet. He had lost weight but was otherwise doing okay. Dr. Laura at Glen Falls Animal Hospital treated him “free of charge,” according to Miranda.
It’s disheartening to hear of a daycare-related mishap, but this story has a positive ending that reminds us, as Miranda put it, “how truly good people are.”
Featured Image: Facebook