Chester is FOUND!!

By LIZ RAFTERY, Press Enterprise Writer

NORTH CENTRE TWP. — After nearly three weeks of surviving on his own, Chester the missing German shepherd was captured in a humane trap set by Animal Resource Center employees on Friday morning.

Finding 5-year-old Chester was like a belated Christmas present, said ARC's Cyndi Lindenmuth. "We were just jumping up and down and in tears," she said. The dog had actually gained a few pounds while he was on the run.

Lost and found

On Wednesday, ARC officials moved their trap to Dan McCracken's property along Cryder's Lane here. Several people had reported seeing Chester in that area. About 7:30 a.m. yesterday, McCracken called ARC volunteer Mary Farver to tell her that Chester was in the trap. "We just didn't believe it," she said. "We thought it was a joke." The dog had jumped out of Farver's SUV on Dec. 10 while she was bringing him to her house because the kennel manager was on vacation. This time, she loaded the entire trap into her SUV. "Nobody was taking any chances with him," Lindenmuth said.

Although Chester was barking in the large cage when they initially saw him, Farver said, he quickly calmed down and fell asleep once he was placed in the SUV. After a veterinary exam, Chester was taken to Farver's home, where he'll continue to undergo training to overcome his shyness and become accustomed to humans. Farver said several people have inquired about adopting him, but it will be at least a few weeks before he's ready to be placed in a permanent home.

Deer feast?

Chester is in good shape, even after snagging his foot in a hunter's trap earlier this week, Farver said. "He actually gained four pounds somehow," she said. "The vet said he should run away more often." Farver said she believes he's been feasting on deer carcasses left in the woods by hunters.

Since he ran off on Dec. 10, ARC has received numerous tips from residents on Chester's whereabouts. Officials said the tipsters can take full credit for his safe return. "We could never have done this without the public calling us and telling us where he was," Lindenmuth said. "We could never have tracked him. We can't thank them enough."

Liz Raftery can be reached at 387-1234 ext. 1323 or