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Dog's dilemma attracts offers

Animal Services Division fielded more than 160 calls about adopting Lucky, who survived a car accident and was slated to die Tuesday.

By JAMIE JONES, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published January 10, 2003

BROOKSVILLE -- Lucky the dog will not die on Tuesday.

After reading in the St. Petersburg Times about the golden retriever mix who survived a car collision Saturday, more than 160 people called the Animal Services Division on Thursday to inquire about adopting Lucky.

Calls came from Tallahassee, St. Petersburg and even New Mexico, with one woman offering to fly in and adopt Lucky if no one else would.

More than 60 people visited the county kennel to meet Lucky, and 11 people have filled out applications for her adoption. The agency will continue accepting applications today and will select a new owner for Lucky this afternoon, unless someone steps forward to claim the dog.

"I'm sure we will find her a good home," said Elaine Coates, customer service technician for the agency.

Joe Schiliro's minivan slammed into the dog on Saturday night as he was taking his aunt home to Inverness. He did not think the dog would survive as she lay limp in the road for five to 10 seconds. Then, the dog jumped up and managed to dodge several other speeding cars on U.S. 41.

Schiliro took her to the county's Animal Services Division. He quickly learned that the dog would die on Tuesday if no one adopted her.

He put the dog's picture on his nameplate at the post office branch on Spring Hill Drive and has been trying to find her a home.

"This is the best thing we could have possibly hoped for," he said. "If people would just step up and get involved a little we would have better endings sometimes."

After hearing about the dog, two sisters, Amber and Misty Carter, drove to Animal Services on Thursday afternoon. They crouched beside Lucky's cage and scratched her ears. The Carters, both students at Pasco-Hernando Community College, said they hoped to adopt Lucky, a perfect playmate for their Labrador, Moose.

"We felt bad for her," Misty said. "She's been through a lot. We want her to have a second chance."

Animal Services employees think Lucky may have an owner, as the dog arrived with a brown collar. But no one has called looking for her.

Rita Rudny said she rescued the same dog Friday night. She said she was driving home from the movies and saw her walking along Wiscon Road. The dog jumped right into her car, Rudny said, and went home with Rudny and her husband, John.

They called her Hagar, after the Egyptian handmaid who ran from her master in a Biblical story.

She said the dog spent Saturday afternoon playing with her five dogs and followed along as they went horseback riding. She said the dog disappeared Saturday evening.

She, too, planned to adopt Lucky if no one else did.

"She fit right in with the goats and horses and pigs out here on our farm," Rudny said. "She didn't harass any of the livestock. She was very friendly and well groomed."

David Solomon, 62, of St. Petersburg also was interested in adopting Lucky. He said he loved animals, and was glad Schiliro took so much time worrying about the dog.

"He deserves at least a cup of coffee," Solomon said.

Agency employees said the attention on Lucky has helped other shelter animals as well. Nine people have offered to adopt another golden retriever and others came to inquire about a litter of puppies.

Jim Varn, supervisor of county animal services, said he was pleased that so many people had come to the kennel Thursday. He said he wasn't surprised about the interest in Lucky.

"Everybody likes a dog with a good story," he said. "Stuff like this makes people feel good."

-- Jamie Jones can be reached at 754-6114. Send e-mail to

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