Posted by Nicole Asher on

Hold on to your biscuits everyone...Bandit missing from Gardiner, NY since October 8, 2016 has been safely captured in Walden, NY after a YEAR AND A HALF on the run!

Bandit escaped from the Gardiner Animal hospital back on October 8, 2016. His family searched high and low for this elusive pup. Sightings sporadically came in and then he all but disappeared.

Early morning, February 8, 2018 a local resident, Tab Calvitti was driving and spotted a black dog on the woods edge off a very busy road. She stopped and went into the woods to look for the dog, but the dog bolted back deep in to the woods and vanished. She continued to leave food with the hopes of luring him but he had other ideas. Tab contacted me on March 20th and I immediately headed to Walden to begin the capture of the elusive pup.

These woods backed up directly to the Wallkill Rail Trail, which was 27 miles long and were blanketed with animal carcasses, most likely dumped by hunters. These carcasses were also a perfect food source for a lost dog and most likely the reason that Bandit eventually settled in these woods where he would remain for a year and a half. For those who think trapping is simply throwing down a trap... think again! It took a trap and two different types of enclosures to get this smart boy to safety. Once the enclosure was set it took five days for him to take baby steps over that threshold. Each step and each bit of progress no matter how small was a celebration. Conditioning him to walk all the way in with no hesitation was a long gradual process but we worked on his time and at his comfort level.

Watching his antics on video were a constant source of amusement. He would chase the critters away from his enclosure, play with toys that we left for him and play bow and do his little playful dance in front of the enclosure. I had named him Wallace/ Wally but we could not wait to read the tags on his collar and learn what his real name was. Once captured, we learned his name was Bandit, I immediately called the family, they were in a state of shock and the first words out of their mouths were "omg he's alive!" Tears of joy and relief flowed. Bandit had travelled 9.5 miles from the point of escape, straight shot on the rail trail. In the year and half that Bandit was missing the families lifestyle had changed and they were concerned that this high flight risk dog would be in better hands with someone who had a fenced in yard and could devote the necessary time to work with him, as this was not the first time he had escaped. I applaud this family for doing the right thing by Bandit, they love him very much and only want what is best for him. We assured them that he will be in the best care and we will make sure that he will never have the chance to escape again. He was a year and a half when he went missing and has spent half his life living in the woods, he will need a lot of time, love and training to learn what it's like to live in a home again.

Driving a two hour commute each day to bait the enclosure, all nighters in the car during snow storms and maneuvering an obstacle course of animal carcasses everyday that he would drag on to our paths, like little gifts for us. It was all worth it, to bring this boy to safety after a year and a half of living in these dense, swampy woods. Nice to finally meet you Bandit!!!

Thank you Tab for being his guardian angel and for reaching out to me. I'm so grateful to have met such a beautiful soul as you and I know we will stay in touch! Thank you to Ramapo-Bergen Animal Refuge (Frannie) for once again opening their doors late night for me and being his soft place to land. Thank you to Frank (Red Gate Farm) at RAWganics Raw Pet Foodfor supplying the amazing bones that have helped me trap so many lost dogs!!



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