ST. THOMAS, Pa. — For one solider, the search for his missing dog isn't just bringing together his friends and family, but an entire community of people who have never met him.
Terry James Morris, a soldier in the U.S. Army who now lives in North Carolina, lost his dog, Athena, last Tuesday. The white Siberian husky was startled by the storm and ran off, said Tammy Wood, his mother.
Unfortunately, two days later Athena was still not found and Morris had to go to Fort Lee, Va., for military training for the next five months. Morris had driven Athena up from North Carolina to stay with his mother during those months.
"TJ's had her a little over a year. He always wanted one and he wanted to wait until he came back from deployment," Wood said. "He got her right when he came back from Iraq. He was down in North Carolina all by himself and we have dogs, we always have."
Athena is a medium to large dog weighing between 60 and 80 pounds with white fur, which can look yellow-ish when she is dirty, and blue eyes. She is long and slender with a bushy tail She has a blue-purple collar on with two tags, one saying "Athena Morris" and another from Fort Bragg.
In the past week, family and friends have been posting fliers, alerting local shelters and veterinarian offices, contacting humane societies in Maryland and Pennsylvania, asking postmen, FedEx delivery personnel and anyone else they've seen jogging or walking.
After seeing a post on a Facebook page dedicated to local
yard sales garner more than 300 comments, Erica Davis decided to help by creating "Bring Athena Home," a page on Facebook that serves as a central information hub. Interestingly enough, Davis doesn't know the family.
"I do not know any them. They're complete strangers,' she said. "Animal rescue is something that's always been close to my heart. The poor guy is deployed and his dog is missing. It really touched my heart. I don't know these people but this dog has got to come home."
"Bring Athena Home" contains pictures of the dog, fliers, contact information, possible sightings and other up-to-date information that all family and friends are using as official updates, Davis said.
"What we're trying to gain is as much exposure as possible. Social media is such a powerful tool in a situation like this," she said. "We've had a few sightings, a lot less than I thought we would have, though."
Monday afternoon, Wood was coming home from meeting with a family who thought they had found Athena, only to be disappointed again. "I had my hopes all up and they were positive it was her and she was pure white, but she wasn't pure white at all," she said.
Although Athena is familiar with Wood, she's only spent two weeks in the area before. She does have an information chip implanted; however, that information can only be accessed if it is scanned by a veterinarian.
Morris has been keeping up with information on the Facebook page and calling his mother every day.
"He's a captain so as soon as he gets a break or as soon as he's off for the day, he's calling," Wood said. "Before he left because he was here for two days, he was going to door to door, knocking all down Social Island and Warm Spring Road."
If Athena is sighted, Wood suggests that people put out some sort of food item and then sit on the ground trying to coax her over then call her.
"She's not going to bite them or anything but please don't run after her because she's skittish," she said. "The greatest thing would be just to coax her to stay there."
For more information or if you see Athena, contact Tammy Wood on Facebook at www.facebook.com/BringHomeAthena.