BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - A time for celebration that Mocha is home with his loving family. Through social media, thousands shared the picture of the black border collie in the effort to find him and bring him home. Mocha was missing for three weeks with dozens of volunteers helping in the search. It was on Friday, Jan. 10, the Rollet family received the call from a good Samaritan.
"This wonderful man had been driving along Route 78W and noticed a dog caught on the guardrail," said Susan Rollet of Berkeley Heights.
The Rollet Family was leaving for their family Christmas vacation and brought Mocha to a boarding facility called "Farm" in Pattenburg, NJ on Dec. 20. A dog handler was walking and slipped on ice and Mocha bolted, jumping a four foot fence. When the Rollet family received the 2 a.m. call of the news, the family vacation was canceled and the search began.
The weather conditions during the three week search during the holidays and weeks following was treacherous. New Jersey endured polar vortex temperatures, not to mention the blizzard and accumulation of snow.
The story and picture of missing Mocha went viral through social media sharing. The Alternative Press of Berkeley Heights Facebook posting had 9,112 viewings with 239 shares. Countless comments, likes and shares on pages such as 'Lost and Found Pets NJ', 'Misty's Journey', 'Union County Lost Pets' and personal pages.
Susan's friend Lilian Skarregaard put Susan in touch with Home for Good Dogs (HGD) in Berkeley Heights. Gail Ryan, with HGD, told her of the 'Lost and Found Pets NJ' and organizations including CART and Hunterdon County Animal Response posted notices resulted in thousands of shares.
"My husband and I, along with wonderful, generous, caring volunteers from local and Hunterdon County Rescue, organizations such as CART – the Hunterdon County Animal Response, a volunteer Disaster Response Team who mobilize to shelter and care for animals (companion animals and livestock) in the face of disaster situations (Storms, floods, fires, etc.) and volunteers from Home for Good Dogs, and numerous friends drove to Asbury and hiked, drove, searched, and called for Mocha," said Susan. Susan received numerous calls and suggestions to aid in the search.
The family was losing hope after 20 days and nights through Christmas, New Years and the treacherous weather conditions. "Traps had been set, posters hung, it felt like the entire community was searching for 1 very cold and hungry dog," said Susan.
Ryan Muentnich of Phillipsburg, driving 78 west near Exit 7 noticed a dog caught on a guardrail. Ryan, unaware of the viral search for the missing dog, stopped his truck to help a dog in need. Ryan sat by the dog before approaching him giving Mocha time to calm down so he could read his tag to call the owners.
"As soon as Mocha saw me he jumped into my arms crying. I jumped into Ryan’s arms crying. It was an unbelievable ending to a long, long, 3 weeks," said Susan. Mocha persevered and is in good health.
"We are so overjoyed with Mocha’s return. We are also humbled by the concern and time put forth by our friends, the community, area rescue groups, volunteers including Lillian, Gail, Cindy, Michelle, Lois, Kristy, Tina and especially Ryan, Mocha’s angel, who took the time and had the patience and sense to do what needed to be done to get Mocha home. Words cannot even express our gratitude to all of you,” said Susan.