Potbelly’s soft opening benefits H-F High School

Sherah, stolen when she was 
a puppy, was returned to 
her Homewood family more 
than five years later.
by Marilyn Thomas/The

Sherah, a tan and black German Shepherd eight-month-old pup, loved to play in the family’s back yard with Gerald and Jennifer Smith’s first and second graders.

But then someone hopped their home’s six foot privacy fence and made off with the dog. That was in Chicago in 2009.

“It was really traumatic for the kids that the dog was gone,” Jennifer said. “We were all very sad about it.” As time passed, they thought Sherah might have been hit by a car.

Now the family lives in Homewood. The dad works in the suburbs, and the children are in 6th grade at Millennium School and 7th grade at James Hart Junior High and they have a two-year-old brother. And, the family adopted a new dog, Tucker, from a shelter.

But when the call came that Sherah had been located, Jennifer said the family was ecstatic.

The Smiths originally bought the dog from a pet store. Sherah already had an ID chip implanted in her, and the Smiths followed through with the registration process.  Little did they know then that the tiny microchip would be the rescue link they needed to get the dog back.

It’s unknown what Sherah’s life had been during the more than five years she was absent from the Smith home. She was found roaming outside the Kankakee County Courthouse one night and was coaxed into a police squad car and delivered to the Kankakee County Animal Control and Adoption Center.  It was determined Sherah had had several litters while she was in someone else’s care.

Christopher Mailhoit, supervisor and animal control officer for the Kankakee County Animal Control agency notified Gerald Smith they’d found Sherah.

“He was just in disbelief that after all this time his dog was found,” Mailhoit said.

Smith took his two older children with him to Kankakee to see the dog, and Sherah ran right up to the kids, Jennifer said. The dog was as mild mannered as they remembered her to be as a pup. The family wanted her home.

But Mailhoit convinced the family to leave the dog with his agency for seven days to see if anyone would come forward looking for the dog. He hoped he might find out information on how Sherah got to Kankakee. He also wanted the family to adjust to the idea of having a second dog in their house. After being gone for so long, Mailhoit thought Sherah might have to learn how to properly treat the family and their other dog, Tucker.

Jennifer said there haven’t been any problems. If anything, Tucker is happy to have another dog in the house, and Sherah is a loving, happy family pet again.

Related story:
ID chips can be miracle workers helping to reunite owners with lost pets 

Contact Marilyn Thomas at [email protected]

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