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Park City community helps reunite lost Golden Retriever with owners

Josie the Golden Retriever at home safe after being lost for two days.
Melissa Filippone
Josie the Golden Retriever at home safe after being lost for two days.

A 10-month-old lost Golden Retriever is back with her owners after she bolted during New Year’s Eve fireworks. Parkites rallied together to find her.

Around 8 p.m. on Dec. 31, Josie the Golden Retriever was outside when neighbors set off fireworks. Scared, she ran into the woods near Willow Creek Park.

Josie’s mom Melissa Filippone said her brother-in-law Michael Filippone was taking care of their two dogs while they were on vacation. Michael tried to go after Josie, but has a torn Achilles tendon and can’t walk.

Melissa said they felt powerless out of the country and couldn’t find a quick flight back because of the busy season.

Instead, they sent a call out to the Park City community to help find Josie. They put a notice on Nextdoor, reached out to neighbors and asked KPCW to announce it on our Lost and Found program.

“If you ever want to know what Park City is about, you just need to lose your dog," Melissa said. "We reached out to everyone and then they reached out to everyone. And before you know it, it just seemed like half the town was looking for our puppy.”

Melissa said hundreds of volunteers helped search. Even a bloodhound named Gracie was given Josie’s scent to help find her.

After two days of searching, a Parkite named Ellen spotted her at the top of Quarry Mountain near a cellphone tower less than five miles from home. She was walking her own dog when she saw Josie poke her head out of some thick brush. Ellen had seen Melissa’s number on a notice about Josie and immediately called her.

“She said, ‘I'm pretty sure I see her. She's in thick brush, and I can't see her fully. She's hiding,’” Melissa said.

Ellen couldn’t get close enough because of the vegetation and how scared Josie was. That changed when she put Melissa on speakerphone.

“She put me on speaker and I screamed as loud as I could and said ‘Josie come, Josie baby come,’" she said. "Then I heard her bark. And she barked like crazy, she barked louder than I've ever heard her bark, she’s not a big barker.”

Melissa said Ellen sat down to make herself less intimidating and let Melissa call Josie over to her. Josie inched slowly toward Ellen until she was able to put a leash on the dog.

“Then I started crying my eyes out. We all got to at least be reunited on the phone," Melissa said. "It was just a series of acts of kindness and love from the Park City community.”

Melissa’s whole family will be reunited in person on Thursday.

If you have lost something, KPCW offers a free Lost & Found announcement service for listeners and visitors across the Wasatch Back.