'Bring Andy Home:' Search For Missing Corgi Goes High Tech

Apr 26, 2012
Originally published on April 26, 2012 4:27 pm

We love dogs. So we can't resist passing along word that later today All Things Considered plans to catch up on the story of Andy, a tan and white Pembroke Welsh Corgi who has been missing since New Year's Eve.

Andy and his human companion, Jordina Ghiggeri of Plymouth, Mass., were visiting friends in Westport, Conn., when he got scared by some fireworks. He took off for the woods.

Since then Ghiggeri has used the old-fashioned approach — some 4,000 posters plastered all over Westport, according to the Boston Globe — and the wonders of technology and the World Wide Web in the effort to find Andy.

There's the Bring Andy Home Facebook page, which has more than 4,000 "likes." There's the Bring Andy Home blog and YouTube channel. Strangers, the Globe says, helped raise $11,000 to buy a dozen night-vision cameras. A pet detective has been enlisted. The missing dog's story has made it into The New York Times and on to the CBC.

Andy's been sighted, but not yet reunited with Ghiggeri.

Here's hoping it all works out.

Craig Lemoult from WSHU in Fairfield, Conn., is filing the report for All Things Considered. Click here to find an NPR station that broadcasts or streams the show.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Now, a search for a lost dog. This is not a story about putting fliers on telephone poles, or wandering the streets calling for Fido.

Craig LeMoult, from member station WSHU, has the story of a far more sophisticated and expensive search.

CRAIG LEMOULT, BYLINE: Karin TarQwyn walks Brodie the dog to a path in Cranbury Park in Norwalk, Connecticut. She holds out a dog collar for him to sniff.

(SOUNDBITE OF PANTING)

KARIN TARQWYN: Find it.

LEMOULT: And Brodie takes off. He's a tracker dog, and TarQwyn is a private investigator who focuses on finding missing animals. She's a pet detective. They're looking through the woods of suburban Connecticut for a corgi named Andy.

TARQWYN: This is a missing family member. And it's as serious to them as, you know, as if it was a missing person.

LEMOULT: Andy has been missing since New Year's Eve. Jordina and Mike Ghiggeri, who live in Massachusetts, were visiting friends in Connecticut. They were outside by a bonfire and as usual, they had their corgi dogs with them. They're those cute, little dogs you see with the legs that just seem to be disproportionately short. Jordina admits their corgis are kind of like their kids. When a neighbor shot off some fireworks, Andy took off.

JORDINA GHIGGERI: I just kept thinking oh, he's just, you know, he'll be right back. And he'll just - he's just around the corner.

LEMOULT: But Andy didn't come back. And nearly four months later, they're still searching for him. Both she and Mike describe the little guy as having a look that's weirdly wise - like he knows all the answers, but he's just not going to tell you.

TARQWYN: I'm sure when I get Andy, he's going to be like, well, it's about time. Thanks a lot for coming to get me; like, I've been out there for quite some time.

LEMOULT: After so many months, you might think a coyote or a car might have gotten the best of Andy. But there have been more than 20 sightings of him.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: It was so quick. You know, it was like a flash.

LEMOULT: This Westport homeowner called the number she saw on a poster to say she'd seen something run by her house that could have been Andy. Suzanne Fisher Coroglian is one of a team of volunteers working on the case. For nearly four months now, she says she spent about five hours a day, five days a week, volunteering to look for Andy. And like a lot of the volunteers, she didn't even know the Ghiggeris before Andy disappeared.

SUZANNE FISHER COROGLIAN: And I still, to this day, sometimes say: Why am I so drawn to it?

LEMOULT: Most of the Team Andy volunteers say it's just become kind of a mission. They put up thousands of posters. They map out the sightings. They set up traps, one of which actually caught a different missing dog. And they put up digital video cameras. One of those cameras at an Andy trap filmed a raccoon and a skunk fighting over a rotisserie chicken hanging from a string, like it was a game of tetherball. And thousands of homes got this message...

UNIDENTIFIED MAN: This is a Pet Amber Alert for a white-and-tan colored, Welsh corgi dog in your area.

LEMOULT: So far, Jordina says the search has cost them at least $10,000. More than 4,000 people are fans of a Facebook page devoted to bringing Andy home. They make donations, and even held an online art auction to raise money. And that's helped pay to bring in the pet detective and her tracker dogs.

(SOUNDBITE OF PANTING DOGS)

LEMOULT: The team chases the tracker dogs through the woods all afternoon, but no Andy. Mike Ghiggeri says, yes, people do think he's crazy to do all this.

MIKE GHIGGREI: All the time; it's like, what - you know - you're still looking or - you know, I'm like, yeah, what am I supposed to do, stop? I mean, I can't stop.

LEMOULT: And for now, they're not stopping. Because for all the months spent looking, for all the thousands of dollars raised and spent, they believe somewhere out there, there's still a corgi wandering around the woods of Connecticut, wishing he was home.

For NPR News, I'm Craig LeMoult. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.