LONGVIEW — After a kitchen fire scared away her beloved rescue pet and burned her out of her home two days before Christmas, Roxanne Ponn was low on holiday spirit. But the Longview resident is ready to start the year with joy instead of heartache, because on Monday afternoon she was reunited with her missing Chihuahua.
Pooh turned up at a Longview business more than a mile from home. Aside from a bit of shock and weight loss, the dog was healthy and happy.
“I just wish she could tell us all of her stories. …She found her angels today that brought her back,” Ponn, 52, said Monday.
Pooh ran away from home after Ponn’s kitchen caught on fire while she and her husband were out. Neighbors and firefighters helped rescue the dog and Ponn’s eight other pets. But Pooh, frightened by the commotion, “bolted” underneath the gate and ran down the block.
A neighbor gave chase unsuccessfully.
Additional tracking by the International K-9 Search and Service suggested Pooh had walked almost four miles from her home at 531 15th Ave. by Christmas Eve, spending time in the Highlands neighborhood and near Industrial Way, Arkansas Street and the Les Schwab Tire Center on Industrial Way.
The fire caused upwards of $40,000 in damage, and the Ponns are staying at a hotel while they await repairs. Ponn was most upset about her missing dog, she said. She printed hundreds of lost dog flyers and spent many hours looking for Pooh. Most mornings, she’d wake up early to drive by her house, checking for the dog.
By Monday, Ponn’s optimism had waned.
“You go through so much heartache looking for (a lost pet). You condition yourself” that you might not find it, she said.
A phone call around 6 a.m. Monday revived her hope, she said. A caller told her Pooh was spotted in the 200 block of 17th Avenue and was headed toward Lake Sacajawea.
“I went looking. I drove and drove and drove, and I couldn’t find her,” Ponn said. “Then I sat down in front of my house and cried.”
Eventually Ponn returned to the hotel, and she and her husband were at a laundromat when a call came from Cutright Supply, a wholesale plumbing business located at 1170 12th Ave. near downtown Longview.
She doubted her little Chihuahua had walked that far, but Ponn went to the store. There she found Pooh, curled up under a chair. Dee Whitten, a Cutright employee, said Pooh and Ponn recognized each other almost immediately. Pooh ran up to Ponn and covered her with licks.
“The owner just burst into tears. She couldn’t be happier,” Whitten said.
Whitten found the dog on the business doorstep “just sitting there out of the rain” when he opened the shop Monday morning. His boss brought the dog inside, and their secretary scoured the internet to locate the owner.
When Ponn picked her up around 1 p.m., Pooh looked thinner than usual, and the pads on her feet were rough from walking. But “she still looks good, for as many miles as she put on this little body,” Ponn said.
The insurance investigation for the fire and repairs is still underway, and it will probably take six to eight months before the Ponns are able to move back into their home. But the road ahead appears much brighter now that Pooh is home, Ponn said.
“That one missing piece is back.”