After a year away, Walter the dog makes it home for Thanksgiving

  • Walter finally safe at home in Somersworth after he went missing in Missouri almost a year ago.

  • Walter and his owner Kate Olson finally safe at home in Somersworth after Walter went missing in Missouri almost a year ago.

  • Walter finally safe at home in Somersworth after he went missing in Missouri almost a year ago.

  • Walter and Owner Kate Olson moments after Walter was captured in Misssouri.

Concord Monitor
Published: 11/26/2020 7:11:11 PM
Modified: 11/26/2020 7:17:52 PM

SOMERSWORTH, N.H. — After almost a year in the woods of Missouri, it was looking like Walter the golden retriever mix may have been a goner.

His owner Kate Olson, who grew up in Hopkinton, N.H., and now lives closer to the Seacoast in Somersworth, never gave up hope.

Olson was visiting with her boyfriend’s family in Arnold, Mo., just south of St. Louis, last Thanksgiving when Walter slipped out of his collar and bolted.

Olson was supposed to leave the next day, but she stayed in Missouri for weeks printing flyers, posting them around town and searching for Walter to no avail.

Eventually she had to return home to New Hampshire and get back to everyday life. The first thing she did was create a Facebook group called “Where’s Walter” so folks back in Missouri could keep an eye out.

“I just didn’t know what else to do,” she said. “I wanted to keep looking, but I couldn’t physically stay any longer.”

She went back to Missouri twice before COVID-19 hit, which ended her trips back and forth.

After months with few signs of Walter, a man posted a photo on a different Facebook page of a scruffy-looking dog he saw while he was out on some biking trails. Someone saw the photo and posted it in the Where’s Walter group.

An animal rescue group called Lost Paws Trapping put out a feeding station and a better camera to get a closer look.

Despite all the grime and matted hair, it looked like Walter. Olson knew it was him and immediately booked a flight back.

She landed on Friday, Nov. 13, an hour and a half before Walter was lured by food and captured.

He had only lost 5 pounds. Olson figures he was eating deer bait and scraps that people had left out for stray cats. But Walter isn’t telling.

Once she had Walter, she wasn’t letting go and decided to drive back to New Hampshire instead of putting him on a plane.

Back at home a year after he ran away, Walter is as happy and energetic as ever, and Olson tends to him like a loving owner.

“Walter shush, please, come here. It’s OK,” she said after he decided to interrupt her retelling of the day he got lost.

There’s no more collar for Walter to slip. Now he has a nice, secure body harness. Olson says he’s back to his old self and hasn’t changed a bit.

“He has been such a little love,” Olson said. “He is the same sweet boy he was before and maybe even sweeter because he has missed getting loved on!”

Olson has since changed the name of the Facebook group that proved invaluable to helping her reunite with her runaway pet. The new name?

“Where’s Walter?? Home Safe and Sound!!”

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