Sunday, October 13, 2002

Dognapped husky returns after 3 1/2-year absence




By Janice Morse
The Cincinnati Enquirer

WHITEWATER TWP. — Three and a half years ago, someone severed a tie-out chain and apparently snatched Timmy, the doughnut-munching Siberian husky, from the porch of Bill Kohl's workshop.

“Everyone in the shop loved him; he was just an exceptional pet, so friendly to everyone. In a way, I think that made it easier for someone to just come and take him,” said Tom Wernke, a family friend.

[photo] Bill and Susan Kohl and daughter Renee, 14, with husky Timmy.
(Brandi Stafford photo)
| ZOOM |
After exhaustive searches, the heartbroken Kohl family resigned themselves to believe they'd never see him again.

But around 7 a.m. Thursday — about 1,250 days later — there, on the workshop porch, was Timmy.

“He was laying right next to the post where he always laid; I couldn't believe it,” said Mr. Wernke, who works in a building near Mr. Kohl's shop. “I said, "Timmy?' And his ears perked up. ... I knew it was him.”

He phoned the Kohls: “You're not going to believe this: Timmy's back!”

After a joyful reunion, the family took the dog to his veterinarian Friday. He verified Timmy's identity by finding a cyst-removal scar.

Saturday, the family remained in disbelief as the dog lounged on the living-room floor.

“We're so glad to have him back, but it is kind of weird. I mean, when you have a dog gone for 3 1/2 years, you go on,” said Bill Kohl, who received Timmy as a gift in 1990. “Still, it's in the back of your mind. At least now we don't have to wonder where he is. I think we'll always wonder where he was.”

The Kohls wish Timmy could talk so he could answer the questions that have gnawed at them since he vanished in May 1999; Mr. Kohl's daughter, Renee, who turns 14 today, teases her mom, Susan, for talking to the dog too much.

Now 12 years old, Timmy walks with difficulty. He's on medication for pain and arthritis. “But he was having trouble walking before they took him,” Mrs. Kohl said. “And he'd been "fixed,' so they couldn't use him for breeding. So why did they take him? ... I hope they treated him well.”

The Kohls had worried that Timmy was being mistreated or even subjected to laboratory experiments — if he wasn't dead.

“We used to say, "Maybe he's with dad,' ” said Mr. Kohl, whose father, Will, died shortly after Timmy disappeared. Will Kohl had a close bond with Timmy — and Timmy would howl for the doughnuts he brought to Kohl Patterns, which makes patterns for foundry castings.

As Will Kohl suffered from pancreatic cancer, it would have meant so much to have Timmy by his bedside, the Kohls said.

While the family resents missing 3 1/2 years of Timmy's life, they say they're not out to “get” whoever took him; they want someone to clear up the mysteries about him.

Because he was clean and well-groomed, the Kohls doubt he wandered back home; someone must have dropped him off.

“Maybe their conscience finally got to them,” Mrs. Kohl said. “Or maybe somebody decided he was too old and sick to bother with anymore.”

E-mail jmorse@enquirer.com



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