James Choffel and his 15-year-old son, Andrew, were driving on Courthouse Road with Max, their two-year-old Golden Retriever-Poodle mix, when they were involved in a car accident on May 21.
James and Andrew were unharmed, even after the vehicle rolled over three times. But one of the back windows broke and Max took off in the direction of their house while the father and son remained at the scene.
Afterward, Jennifer Choffel said she had gotten word that the family pet had been spotted on West Old Mountain Road running in the direction of their house. She and her family immediately searched for Max, to no avail.
“The following day there were two sightings of Max,” Jennifer said.
Someone said they had seen Max at the intersection of East Old Mountain and Shannon Hill roads, more than 10 miles from the accident site, and another saw him at West Old Mountain near Roundabout Road.”
The search continued as the Choffel family contacted an Alexandria-based dog tracker. The Carmen Brothers, with the help of their tracking dog, Magic, followed Max’s scent in the direction of West Old Mountain Road.
“We set a live trap there with no luck. We put up posters and put flyers in mailboxes all over the area,” Jennifer said. “[We] went door to door. We walked West Old Mountain Road or drove it at least three times daily for seven days.”
As hope began to dwindle for the Choffel family, they began posting their flyers and information on social media, in the hopes that the community could help pass the message around faster than they could alone.
“The response on social media was amazing,” she said. “Max’s missing flyer was shared over 5,000 times between my personal page and various other pages that we shared it to.”
They posted the information to Facebook pages such as Lost Pets Virginia, Lost Pets of Auto Accidents, Found, Green Dogs Unleashed, Louisa County Animal Shelter, Aware Foundation, Crossroads Animal hospital and any other local groups that would allow them to share.
Community members went to work trying to find Max and searched all over the southern half of Louisa County.
“We would be out searching for Max in the car and we would literally pass perfect strangers who were also out searching for our dog,” Jennifer said.
The people living on West Old Mountain Road also looked for Max and were understanding concerning the Choffels driving slowly along their road many times a day.
(Article by Andrew Hollins)
This is a partial article. Read the full story in The Central Virginian’s June 6, 2019 issue.