A lost dog’s tale ends happily

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 20, 2002

A husband and wife from Richmond recently found out just how great the people of Suffolk can be when someone has a problem, and they are almost as grateful as their little dog, &uot;Spuds.&uot;

Spuds is a &uot;Heinz 57,&uot; or mixed breed dog; a cross between a Jack Russell terrier and some other cute breed.

Jeannie Gilman, an employee at the Virginia House of Delegates, came to visit her niece at her Jouster Lane home in Suffolk. Gilman’s dogs, Spuds and Tippy, spent the day romping in the niece’s yard and that’s where they were when Gilman went shopping.

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&uot;As girls will do, we began shopping and time got away until we returned to the apartment at 6 p.m.,&uot; said Gilman. &uot;No Spuds… we looked everywhere until we found a hole beneath the fence where we hadn’t seen it earlier.&uot;

Gilman and her niece began searching the area around Wexford Downs and King’s Landing just off Route 10, where the niece’s apartment is located. No luck.

At that point, Sunday night two weeks ago, Gilman decided she would spend the night, hoping that Spuds would show up.

&uot;I barely slept because Spuds is like my baby and he was missing,&uot; said Gilman. &uot;About 4 in the morning, my husband called from England, wondering where we were because he’d called home in Richmond and got no answer.&uot;

After advising her husband that their beloved pet was missing, Gilman decided that she’d put out flyers with information about the missing dog and distribute them in the area.

&uot;We put out about a hundred flyers at that point,&uot; said Gilman. &uot;We went all around the neighborhood asking questions and nobody had seen him.&uot;

Of course Gilman went to work in Richmond the following day, but she admits her mind was still on Suffolk.

Thursday came and Gilman drove to D.C. to pick up her husband. They arrived back in Suffolk six days after Spuds virtually disappeared.

On Sunday, the search began again with Ken Gilman now scouring the woods around and Gilman stopped by Liberty Baptist Church to drop off flyers.

&uot;I met another nice woman, Dee Reynolds, at the church and she offered to hand out flyers to the congregation,&uot; said Gilman. &uot;Then, I started back to my nieces area and it started raining again. At this point, I was doing a lot of crying.&uot;

Just as she was about to give up, there was Spuds, safe in the arms of two young boys as the Gilmans arrived back at King’s Landing.

&uot;I screamed for Ken to stop the car,&uot; said Gilman. &uot;I knew it was Spuds and he was safe.&uot;

Gilman and her husband jumped out of the car and after hugging their dog, met the two heroes of the story.

&uot;We were going to meet James’ mom at a party over here, and we went over there and made a wrong turn,&uot; said Geffrey Beaudin, a Lakeland High School junior and resident of Longstreet Lane.

&uot;We saw the dog and he was running around looking so we knew he was lost. We started looking for his owner and while we were driving around he started acting real crazy and jumping around in the car. We got out and he ran across the street first and then they (Gilmans) pulled up. He really showed us the way.&uot;

The other super hero (that’s what Spuds called them), James Leonard, said they were in the right place at the right time.

&uot;We were both real happy to find the dog’s owners,&uot; said Leonard. &uot;I have a Great Dane, Sasha, and I know how I would feel if he was lost.&uot;

Beaudin said his home was also home to so many dogs he didn’t have time to name them. He said that even if one was missing… well, every dog lover understands.

The Gilmans offered a substantial reward to their heroes but like any good superguys, it was promptly turned down.

Jeannie Gilman said the boys finally relented and accepted the reward.

Beaudin is the son of Louise and Glen Beaudine and Leonard is the son of Cindy Leonard.

&uot;I’m just so impressed by the people around here,&uot; said Ken Gilman. &uot;I’m sure we disturbed people at their dinner and everyone was just so kind. There truly is a sense of community in Suffolk.&uot;