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  • Staff Photo by Grant Morris


    Holly Mokrzecki stands in the doorway of the cage used to capture Gypsy early Friday morning.
  • Staff Photo by Grant Morris


    Empty cat and dog food cans lie beneath a tractor trailer, Friday afternoon. Gypsy was eating food left for feral cats for the year she was living in the wild.
  • Staff Photo by Grant Morris


    Holly Mokrzecki stands near a pile of nylon fiber that Gypsy tore out of a couple of old couch cushions and used as a bed for a year. Several members of Granite State Dog Recovery, including Mokrzecki, were searching for the labrador mix for a year and finally found her early Friday morning.
  • Staff Photo by Grant Morris


    A special camera attached to the corner of the cage was used to help captors figure out what time Gypsy was coming and going, which aided them in capturing her.
  • Staff Photo by Grant Morris


    Rescuers used food placed in the bowl to lure Gypsy into the cage in order to capture her.
  • Staff Photo by Grant Morris


    Holly Mokrzecki points to the place where Gypsy, a labrador mix, was eating food left for feral cats and surviving in the wild for a year from inside of the cage used to capture her. Mokrzecki is part of a group called Granite State Dog Recovery who assists in finding and recovering lost dogs.
  • Staff Photo by Grant Morris


    Holly Mokrzecki points to the place where Gypsy, a labrador mix, was eating food left for feral cats and surviving in the wild for a year from inside of the cage used to capture her. Mokrzecki is part of a group called Granite State Dog Recovery who assists in finding and recovering lost dogs.
Monday, March 21, 2011

NH group helps find, rescue lost animals

NASHUA – Gypsy was missing for a year.

She lived among rusted out train cars, empty barrels of acetone, abandoned cars and trailer homes in a desolate dirt lot by the train tracks that run behind Crown Street and along the Merrimack River. A small homeless encampment is nearby.

She made a bed from old couch cushions she tore apart for the soft, white stuffing inside, and ate mostly cat food that a volunteer organization left under an old semi-truck trailer on a wooden pallet for feral felines.

Early Friday morning, Gypsy was finally captured, in a large metal cage equipped with a spring-loaded door and trail camera. She was lured there by food.

Gypsy, a 3-year-old Lab mix, escaped her new owners a year to the day from when she was found. She’s been living on her own, and doing fairly well for herself,since then, according to Holly Mokrzecki, a member of Granite State Dog Recovery.

The group, a loose collection of volunteers who found one another because they all were helping to find lost dogs, spends hours each week looking for missing or homeless dogs.

“It’s just a bunch of volunteers,” said member Karen Westling, of Lee. “It’s kind of a clearing house for missing dogs in the state.”

A small group of volunteers, including Mokrzecki, of Manchester, and Westling, staked out the metal cage they set up near Gypsy’s feeding spot, sitting in their cars from 6 p.m. until 1 or 2 a.m. for the past two weeks before they managed to get the cage door closed before the agile Gypsy slipped out.

A local shelter, which prefers to remain nameless, took Gypsy that night. The family that adopted her – and said they didn’t need Granite State Dog Recovery’s help when she escaped last spring – doesn’t want her back, Mokrzecki said.

Gypsy is in remarkably good condition. She tested positive for Lyme disease but negative for heartworm, Mokrzecki said, and was getting plenty to eat.

“The dog looks like she hasn’t lost a pound,” she said.

Mokrzecki said she and a couple of other members are trying to establish Granite State Dog Recovery as a nonprofit organization.

Volunteers now search in their spare time, which takes them all over the state, in between full-time jobs, and they don’t accept any money from the dog owners they help, according to the group’s Facebook page.

“I just do it out of the love for dogs, I guess,” Westling said of her involvement. “I think we all do it for the same reasons: We hate the idea of missing dogs.”

“It’s a passion for animals,” Mokrzecki said. “If not us, who can they rely on? A lot of (dogs) slip their collar, and a lot of them don’t have happy endings. If it wasn’t for us sitting out here, she’d still be out here.”

Joseph G. Cote can be reached at 594-6415 or jcote@nashuatelegraph.com.