Steve and Kris Baughman are happy to have Warley back after a long ordeal. photo by Jeff Omodt
Steve and Kris Baughman are happy to have Warley back after a long ordeal. photo by Jeff Omodt

An epic effort ended happily last month with the rescue of a greyhound dog that was lost in Sisters for days.

On Wednesday, November 14, Steve Baughman and his three-year-old greyhound Warley were traveling from Salem to Sunriver when they stopped at Village Green Park in Sisters around noon for a potty break.

"Warley took care of business and then I went into the restroom after securing the leash to a storage locker handle," Baughman said. "While in the restroom I heard a rattling noise and I immediately went out."

Warley had wiggled out from his harness and bolted.

"After coming around the side of the building I spotted Warley two blocks away," Baughman recalled. "I called his name multiple times running after him, but lost sight of him."

After returning to Village Green Park to retrieve his Jeep, Baughman searched the streets in the area until dark without a sighting.

Greyhound Pet Adoption Northwest member Jeff Omodt and his wife, Winnie, have had considerable experience with greyhounds, after having adopted 20 retired racing greyhounds over the last 30 years.

"Something may have startled Warley, a car horn or a noise, so much that he tugged out of his harness and leash and started to run," said Omodt.

Omodt noted that greyhounds spend their first 18 months learning to run on a track and living in a crate with almost no human contact and no socialization.

Warley, an ex-racer that Baughman and his family adopted from Oregon Greyhound Adoption in Portland two months earlier, was still in the process of adapting to his new world of sights and sounds.

The next morning Baughman returned to Sisters with flyers that he posted and handed out.

"I alerted the sheriff's department in Sisters that Warley was missing," Baughman said. "I stopped at The Nugget Newspaper and reached out to them. I then placed Warley as a lost dog on Facebook, neighborhood watch, and Furry Friends Foundation."

The news about the search for Warley picked up steam on social media as word spread about him on Facebook. Animal lovers in the community rushed to the aid of the family, offering their help in the search.

Warley was spotted numerous times by residents all around Sisters, from Highway 20/Cascade to Elm Street near Pine Meadow Ranch. A couple of days passed with more sightings, but Warley had gone into survival mode and ran from all help.

Baughman then ramped up the rescue efforts by recruiting the help of the Pet Evacuation Team (PET) of Redmond at the impetus of Kiki Dolson, founder of Furry Friends Foundation (FFF)

"I learned about Warley after receiving the lost dog information," said Dolson. "It made me recall an Australian shepherd who no one could capture that had been running loose in Camp Sherman a couple years ago. So, I decided to contact the person who was finally able to rescue that dog, Cindy Wright. She suggested a Missy trap might be the answer and to call the PET team. I called, and they were quick to contact Steve."

On the seventh day, Warley was followed by a Sisters city worker and was observed turning off Three Creek Road towards Pine Meadows Ranch.

"Since Pine Meadow Ranch is where he disappeared after leaving town, I suggested to the PET that the trap should be moved to the PMR driveway off Elm," Omodt told The Nugget.

The ranch driveway is where the PET trap was moved to on Thanksgiving morning. The trap was baited with chicken strips and Baughman placed Warley's blanket and a dirty T-shirt of his in the trap as well.

Ann Brewer, PET volunteer, was assigned to check the trap on Friday morning.

Brewer said, "It was Thanksgiving weekend and most volunteers for PET live in Bend, so they reached out to a few of us living in Sisters to see if we could help check the trap. I was to check early Friday morning."

"My daughter Sarah and I were on our way to the trap after a five-minute stop for coffee. As we turned into the driveway of the ranch, we could see the trap. At first it looked empty, then as we got closer, Sarah noticed a small animal lying curled up beside the trap. We stopped the car about 50 yards from the trap and were able to make out that the small animal was in fact Warley!"

Brewer and her daughter slowly stepped out of the car and approached Warley, who appeared to be drawn to Sarah's bagel that she had purchased at Sisters Coffee.

"His sole focus was on the food and not on us," Brewer said. "Sarah was able to keep him zoned onto the food while I was able to wrap a leash behind and around his front legs and neck so to provide a solid temporary restraint until we could the put the harness on. Warley was willing to allow us to put on the harness and guide him, with food, to the back of the car."

Baughman was in Salem when he received the heart-warming phone call from Brewer. He asked if she would take Warley to Omodt's house in Sisters until he arrived.

"When we found Warley he was in the initial stages of hypothermia," Brewer said. "His shivering was convulsive, and he was skin and bones. It had been nine days since he had been lost and we believed it was possible that he was near death.

"I am thankful to PET for providing the platform of services so that we can do rescues like this and so grateful to be able to be a part of such a well-organized operation," Brewer added.

The Omodts warmed Warley up, gave him some water and food and waited by the fire for his pet parents to arrive from Salem.

"Sisters community was extremely willing and helpful, very supportive and sensitive," Baughman told The Nugget. "With their help the outcome was that Warley was found in good shape despite being lost for nine days with frigid nights. Thank you, Sisters!"

Dolson added "The community's support in the search for Warley was really incredible and certainly heartwarming. Social media was full of Warley posts and updates on a sometimes hourly and certainly daily basis. He was the talk of the town."