Melanie LeGrotte called it an Easter miracle when Jack the miniature husky returned after eluding capture for 12 days.
Jack disappeared from a Castle Rock veterinarian while the LeGrotte family was on their spring break ski trip. For the next dozen days, residents across Castle Rock reported 15 sightings of the “very, very fast and very, very smart” animal, said LeGrotte.
When he was finally reunited with his owner on Easter Sunday, it was only after he was outsmarted by his 9-year-old owner.
Jack, a 6-month-old Alaskan klee kai, was spotted in the Diamond Ridge neighborhood south of Castle Rock on April 5, more than a week after he escaped while recovering from neutering surgery. The home where he was spotted was about three miles from the Cherished Companions Animal Hospital, where on March 27 he escaped his handlers.
The homeowner in Diamond Ridge opted to leave some food and water out for Jack, which lured him back on Easter Sunday. When the LeGrottes got the phone call that morning, they opted for a more subtle approach.
“I think with all the people that have been chasing him, he’s just been so frightened,” LeGrotte said. “It’s very typical of their breed, they like to run and they’re very, very, very smart. They can tell if you’re trying to trick them. My husband decided to ask everyone to leave the area to see if we could try something else.”
The “something else” involved Briana LeGrotte, 9, lying quietly on her belly, gently squeezing a squeaky toy and holding treats, until Jack made his way onto her back. Eventually Briana rolled over and managed to get her arms around Jack, embracing him back into the family fold in more ways than one.
The phone rang throughout the day on Easter Sunday from well-wishers congratulating the LeGrottes for their happy ending. Jack is on an antibiotic and painkiller and seems to be happy back home where he belongs, she said.
LeGrotte is convinced Jack’s return could not have happened without the help of the Castle Rock community that came out in droves to help the family reunite with its first family dog.
“Everybody in Castle Rock, from the people next door to the police station to animal control, everybody was out there helping,” LeGrotte said. “It was just a wonderful display of community support like I’d never seen before. It was amazing. We’re so thankful that he’s back.”