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How Mona went missing, lost her leg and got her family back

Courtesy of La Plata County Humane Society

Mona, a 3-year-old husky-collie mix, went missing July 7 in Farmington. After being hit by a car and having her leg amputated in Durango, she was reunited with her family.

By Chase Olivarius-Mcallister Herald staff writer

After two weeks of methodical searching, “worst-case-scenario” thinking and several minor miracles, on Friday, Ryan Ross, of Farmington, was reunited with Mona, his 3-year-old husky-collie mix, at the La Plata County Humane Society.

“She’s missing a limb, but other than that, she’s great. We just got her back to the house. My kids and wife are so happy,” Ross said.

Since she bounded out of her Farmington home July 7, Mona, who was not wearing her usual tags at the time, twice escaped death. First, a car ran her over, nearly killing her. Then she was taken in by the Farmington Animal Shelter, where she would likely have been euthanized – had a volunteer not called the La Plata County Humane Society.

Durango shelter director Chris Nelson said, “her leg was totally crushed, and the amputation she needed to survive was going to cost $1,000 – they couldn’t do it in Farmington.”

While Mona was being transferred to Durango to receive treatment, back in Farmington, the Ross family members were frantically searching for her. They plastered their neighborhood with fliers, advertised her loss on Facebook and Craigslist, ran notices in The (Farmington) Daily Times, and filed a missing dog report with the Farmington shelter, which they visited almost every day.

Though the report contained a photo, no one at the Farmington shelter recognized her.

The director of the Farmington shelter was not available for comment Friday.

Mona was eventually identified by Cathy Roberts, a volunteer at the Durango shelter.

“She was recovering from surgery at the time. But ‘I’ve seen you before,’ I thought. I check the missing dog listings in the paper and on Craigslist all the time. Sure enough, when I checked on Craigslist, Mona was absolutely the same dog as the one that Farmington family was looking for.

“She had this look that made me know it was her – she looked well-loved,” Roberts said.

Nelson said Mona’s owners took all the right steps, but Farmington’s shelter is overloaded.

Jeff Bowman, director of Farmington’s Parks and Recreation Department, which oversees the shelter, said the shelter gets more than 8,000 animals a year. Of that, nearly 70 percent are euthanized, he estimated.

“We do the best with what we have,” he said, “but when you only have 24 cages, and on average, 30 animals come in a day, you have to make room. That’s why we’ve committed to building a new shelter.”

The current shelter is 30 years old and wedged between a power plant and a waste water treatment plant. According to the shelter’s website, “not one of our dog kennels meets the Humane Society of the United States regulations for space required per dog.”

Plans to build a new regional animal shelter located on an area off Browning Parkway near Animas River Park were unveiled to Farmington’s City Council the day after Mona underwent surgery in Durango.

The proposed 14,987 square-foot building will have the capability to house 170 dogs, 130 cats and five exotic animals.

“It’s a positive thing,” said Bowman.

In other good news, Ryan Ross said Mona is adjusting to three-legged life splendidly.

cmcallister@durangoherald.com

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