Owner remains hopeful after latest dog sighting

Submitted Photos Nero, a six-year-old male Husky-Swedish Shepherd mix, has been missing since Jan. 3.

On Jan. 3, Nancy Valentine’s beloved dog, Nero, ran away from home. Since then, Valentine has not given up hope that Nero might eventually return, even now more than 100 days later.

Thursday evening, a post on the Chautauqua Missing Pet Alert Facebook page showed a dog that looked like Nero, a 6-year-old male Husky-Swedish Shepherd mix. The dog shown in the post was seen on Chautauqua Road in Fredonia.

As of Friday morning, dog control officers in the dog had not yet been trapped and secured.

More than 100 days since Nero went missing, potential sightings had become familiar to Valentine. She has posted consistently in the classified section of the OBSERVER and The Post-Journal to raise awareness and incentivize people in the community to help.

In many ways, those efforts have backfired.

This dog, believed to be Nero, a missing dog since Jan. 3, was spotted on Chautauqua Road in Fredonia on Thursday evening.

Valentine has been harassed for weeks from people, in the community and beyond, regarding Nero’s escape. She has received calls locally and from out of state demanding payment for information, along with criticism of her care of her dog to allow him an opportunity to escape. She has also received several calls from people who claimed to have caught Nero, but the dog they caught was not him.

“I cry every day,” Valentine said. “It’s frustrating, it’s upsetting. … It hurts.”

Added to the harassment she has received, Valentine still cannot find closure in Nero’s disappearance. She has contracted drone pilots to fly over the region several times to seek her companion, who she took on walks to the beach and often to visit friends and family. She searched for Nero in the woods for many hours each day for over two months before her husband convinced her to pull back for the sake of her own health.

“I have no closure. It’s a lot different from a dog that dies. … When you have a dog that runs off and they are missing, and you just don’t know, it’s horrible,” Valentine said.

With how long Nero has been missing, if he is found, he will likely be very scared and hard to catch. Anyone who does see a dog in the wild matching his description – or that of any other missing dog, for that matter – is urged to immediately contact a local dog control officer and not to attempt to catch the dog themselves. Attempting to catch a dog on the loose, while good natured in spirit, is oftentimes much more detrimental because of the likelihood that the animal will flee.

In the coming days, Valentine remains hopeful her four-legged friend will be caught and returned home. Even with so many leads that never panned out, Valentine still found hope with the latest sighting.

“I’m hoping it’s him,” she said.


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