Dog becomes lost during WAG! walk, so owner brings in scent-tracking dogs to locate her

'WAG!' dog-walker loses puppy

CONCORD, N.C. (WBTV) - Dog walking apps are rising in popularity. With just a simple click, you can connect with someone who will come to your home and walk your dog, even when you’re not at home.

But what happens if your dog becomes lost on the walk? It’s a nightmare scenario, but it recently happened to one family in Concord.

Jessica Brandewie recently starting using WAG! the dog walking app when she got her 5-month-old puppy, Mera. She wanted Mera to be able to go for walks even when she was away at work during the day.

“The walker was leaving our house, she was walking down the road right here, and trying to take a photo of Mera, per WAG’s protocol. She tripped on a trashcan and in that situation, fumbled with the leash and Mera got stumbled by the trashcan falling and sprinted away," says Brandewie.

With the walker unable to track Mera down, WAG! notified Brandewie there was an emergency and she needed to get home as soon as possible. That’s when she found out Mera had been lost.

“Just to hear that she was gone... I was just heartbroken," says Brandewie. “She’s so young, I don’t know if she can function on her own.”

Brandewie says WAG! sent her lost puppy fliers and did send a few walkers to their neighborhood to help search for Mera. But she decided to hire scent-tracking dogs to hopefully track her down.

Through a scent off of Mera’s blanket from her kennel, the scent-tracking dogs are able to use that scent and trail it throughout the neighborhood.

“The way the dogs have taken us, we’ve worked one dog in the neighborhood today trying to confirm some possible sightings," says Michelle Wilson with Epic Animal Recovery. "They’ve picked up the same scent that they picked up prior when we were here a few days ago.”

Close to a week missing, and temperatures only getting colder, time was ticking to track down Mera. But Tuesday afternoon., the dogs picked up a new trace of Mera’s scent in the woods nearby.

“The scent tracker dogs brought us to an area, and she belted out 2 loud barks and that’s all it took.”

The search dogs had found Mera.

“She was stuck in the bushes. She still had her leash on… I started crying. I was just so happy, we picked her out of the bush and I just wrapped my arms around her," says Brandewie.

Mera’s parents took her to the vet immediately after finding her to check her health and vitals.

We heard back from WAG about Mera's situation, their team worked directly with Jessica, to set up and monitor a dedicated tip line while passing out those flyers you saw.

Wag! also plans to reimburse Jessica for the costs associated with those scent tracking dogs.

The walker has been suspended from the app.

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