This was Luna, the beloved pet of Daryl and Cindy Anderson and their family.
Luna was a pound puppy, adopted by the Andersons from a humane society shelter in Las Vegas about 10 years ago.
A couple weeks ago, Luna was visiting a relative’s house near Flintridge and Dublin. She apparently panicked when left in a fenced yard, dug her way out and vanished far from her home near Garden of the Gods Road and Centennial Boulevard.
Daryl said he and his sons put 100 miles on their car searching for Luna.
Then, late last week, Daryl received a call from a stranger who said he had Luna’s collar.
Tom, who declined to reveal his full name, had taken the collar off the dog’s remains, which he found on railroad tracks that run past Rockrimmon.
Tom had noticed Luna’s remains as he walked his own dogs along Monument Creek near Mark Dabling Boulevard in Rockrimmon.
Luna had died trying to get home from the relative’s house. (See map of Luna’s approximate route at the bottom of this blog).
She had crossed Academy and Union boulevards, Interstate 25 and the creek. But she’d failed to cross the tracks safely.
I’m guessing she made it a few blocks north to Cottonwood Creek, followed it west to Monument Creek and then a bit south along Mark Dabling before she strayed onto the tracks.
I’d guess she’d gone about three miles!
Daryl tells me Tom and his wife not only showed him the location of Luna’s remains, they helped him retrieve the remains. He described it as “a very messy and unpleasant task.”
“Tom’s a wonderful person,” Daryl said. “That gentleman was the best ‘Good Samaritan’ that I could have run into.”
Tom said he braved the decomposing remains because he, too, had lost a pet cat, Barney, a few years ago and never learned its fate.
He didn’t want Daryl’s family to wonder about Luna, the chow mix they had adopted from a humane society in Las Vegas.
“They needed closure,” Tom said. “We never got closure with Barney.”
Normally, the story of Luna, Daryl and Tom would would end there. But this incident raised questions in Tom’s mind about how the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region deals with dead pets.
Tom was surprised to learn he could not make a “deceased animal” report after he saw Luna’s remains.
“They said they don’t do that,” he said. “They just wanted me to call the city to get it hauled away. I was more interested in reuniting it with its owner.”
So he didn’t call the city street division to retrieve the remains. That was a mistake, the society says.
Crews would’ve picked up Luna’s remains and called the society promptly.
“Every day, the city gives us detailed reports of the deceased pets they pick up,” said Erica Meyer, society spokeswoman. “If there’s a collar, they remove it, and give it to us with the report so we can call the owner.
“If there is no collar, they give us breed information, size, color, location. Then we try to match it with the lost pet reports we have.”
Allowing folks like Tom to report animal remains would cause duplication and confusion, she said.
And deceased pet reports are not displayed online, as Tom proposes, to protect owners from shock.
“Rather than putting it on the web, we have a department that notifies owners personally,” Meyer said.
“We work really hard to reunite people with their lost pets, whether they are alive or deceased.
“We have an entire unit that works on it every day.”
Meyer reminds everyone to call the Humane Society immediately if they see an injured animal or suspect it may be suffering. Don’t always assume an animal that has been struck by a car, for example, is dead.
The number is 473-1741.
To report a dead animal in the city, call the street division at 385-5934.
n El Paso County, call 520-6460.