Gunnison Valley visitor Tylor Schmer and her 11-year-old Jack Russell terrier Marley Moo are no strangers to adventure. In their years together, they’ve moved to different states, paddle boarded on lakes across the nation and climbed mountains.
On the way back from their most recent trip to New Mexico, however, Moo decided to embark on his own trip that ended up taking him to Florida.
“I’m a little mad at this crazy little senior dog going on his own adventure without me,” Schmer said.
During a rest stop at the local Love’s gas station on the evening of Monday, June 22, Moo jumped out of the car window as Schmer stepped away for a moment. Usually obedient to her commands to get out of the car, Schmer was surprised to return to the vehicle without her companion.
For the next nine days, Schmer — who lives in the Golden area — canvassed Gunnison County, hanging flyers on posting on multiple social media groups such as the Gunnison Marketplace. But the local community wouldn’t let her do this alone. As word spread, so did helping hands. People offered to help hang flyers and spread the word in any way they could.
“To my surprise people started to follow along,” Schmer said. ”Everyone was just so kind, this is such a welcoming community.”
Schmer said people around town began recognizing her as she stayed on the lookout, and would give her hugs and words of hope. Even the park rangers who worked at the campsite she was staying at would check in on her from time to time.
Gunnison local Erin Blair had read a few posts about Moo’s disappearance on the Gunnison Marketplace, and when learning she was living out of her car, offered her the comfort of her home.
“I know how sometimes it’s the little things that can change your demeanor so I invited her over (to) shower,” Blair said. “I have always had a soft spot in my heart for furry friends and I couldn’t imagine the amount of stress she was going through so I just wanted to be able to help out in some way.”
Spa-la-la owner Carol Quinn felt similarly to Blair, being an animal lover as well. Quinn hung her sign up outside her business, and let others know to be on the lookout for Moo.
“I just felt like she was a stranger but this whole community came together for her,” Quinn said.
Schmer said the kindness of the Gunnison locals, as well as travelers like her stopping through who said they’d keep an eye out for her pup, kept her going.
The ultimate relief came when she received a call from a stranger in the Cimarron area on July 1. She came upon one of Schmer’s social media posts while looking to see if anyone in the area had lost a dog, as she had family members who picked up an older pup in Gunnison while completing a cross-country drive to their home in Florida.
The individuals in Florida soon recognized how well-behaved the dog was, and concluded that there wasn’t any way he could’ve just been a stray, like they originally thought.
Schmer was contacted by friends in the Florida area, who will be bringing her pup home by airplane.
“He’s gone paddle boarding with me and climbed mountains but now he’s flying without me,” Schmer joked.
The owner hopes to come back to the Gunnison Valley soon, to introduce her new friends to Moo.
“I love Gunnison,” she said. “I think my dog chose Gunnison.”
(Roberta Marquette can be contacted at 970.641.1414 or at gunnisontimes.com.)