Dog's rooftop adventure ends with reunion

Family thrilled to have Chihuahua mix Brownie back after he strayed from home, had to be rescued

By Emily Gillespie, Columbian breaking news reporter

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photoSgt. 1st Class Bennett Muasau holds his wayward dog Brownie, who became somewhat of a celebrity Monday after getting rescued from the roof of an Orchards-area house just five blocks away.

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photoSgt. 1st Class Bennett Muasau kisses his wayward dog Brownie, who became somewhat of a celebrity Monday after getting rescued from the roof of an Orchards-area house just five blocks away.

(/The Columbian)

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photoA Chihuahua mix named Brownie was stranded on the roof of an Orchards area house Monday morning. Clark County Animal Control Officer Patrick Higbie rescued the dog off the roof.

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When Bennett Muasau got home from dropping off his wife at work Monday morning, a sinking feeling set in as he realized one of his two dogs was nowhere to be seen.

“They’re part of our family,” Muasau, 48, said. “They’re just like other kids.”

He searched the neighborhood for the 4-year-old Chihuahua mix named Brownie. Eventually, he left for work but his 19-year-old daughter and 17-year-old son kept looking with the family’s other dog, a 7-year-old border collie named Cutie, to see if she could smell out her companion.

Muasau posted several pictures of Brownie to his Facebook page and even slept outside on the front porch Monday night hoping the pooch would return.

“It’s kind of weird, but that’s the way I am,” Muasau said. “My dog’s out there and I don’t know where he’s at … I was afraid that he might get run over by a car.”

It wasn’t until Tuesday morning that he learned what happened to Brownie: The small dog had traveled about five blocks north and somehow gotten onto the roof of a nearby house. The homeowner, Barry Klettke, reported the incident and a Clark County Animal Control officer responded and brought the dog to the Humane Society of Southwest Washington. The story of the rescue was first reported by The Columbian and then picked up by other media outlets, including ABC News.

Klettke lives at 8911 N.E. 79th St., not far from Muasau at 7312 N.E. 91st Ave.

“The funny thing, my brother-in law in California is the one that sent us the link saying: ‘Hoping this is Brownie,’ ” Muasau said. It only took one glance at the photo.

“I instantly knew it was him,” he said. “It just made my day.”

He said Brownie had been known to get over 6-foot-high fences, but Muasau had no words for how he had gotten onto a roof.

Klettke said Monday that he thought the dog had snuck into his house through the garage and accessed the roof by his second-story patio.

Brownie did not have his collar on at the time, but is licensed with Clark County.

“Every weekend, we give him a bath and my son forgot to put his collar back on,” Muasau said. He said that Brownie may have gotten out through an open gate.

Brownie has gotten out before, so Muasau said his family will need to make a checklist to ensure they don’t lose him again.

On Tuesday morning, Muasau and his children were ecstatic when they arrived at the Humane Society and were reunited with their pet.

“I’m just glad that there’s a lot of us — people that love their animals,” he said.

His gratitude, Muasau said, can best be spent paid forward.

“I feel that I would do the same for anybody,” he said. “I want to make sure to return the favor one day.”

Emily Gillespie: 360-735-4522; http://www.twitter.com/col_cops;emily.gillespie@columbian.com.