By Ross Guidotti


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REDSTONE, Pa. (KDKA) — Rooney Duda is one very rambunctious dog and much adored.

“He’s my buddy. I play with him a lot. I just love him so much,” Tyler Duda said.

So one can imagine the heartbreak when 6-month-old Rooney rambled off one day. Rachel Duda was especially troubled over the missing canine.

“This dog belongs to the Dudas. He belongs on Duda’s farm. He belongs with our family,” she said.

The doggone dog was gone. The Dudas run the well-known Duda farm and have lots of people they count on as friends and customers. A community search for the lost lab in and around Redstone, Fayette County, began.

Anyone who owns a good dog knows what they mean to a family. For Rachel, Rooney was more than just some lost lab.

“This dog helped me get through the death of our black lab who died very unexpectedly in August,” Rachel said.

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

Rachel’s husband, Mark Duda, spent the better part of the last few days on mobile patrol ATVs in the woods with the family Jeep on the pavement. Mark was putting the word in the street that Rooney was on the run.

“We rolled around town through every street non-stop, back-and-forth, calling his name. People probably thought we were nuts,” Mark said.

Days passed with no sign of the missing dog. That’s when Rachel decided to try something where the dog was last spotted near Redstone Park.

She put out some food, toys and some of her son, Tyler’s, dirty soccer socks. When she returned to check on the items before dawn Wednesday, she found some of them missing and suspected Rooney was around.

She called his name and the missing dog bolted from underneath a picnic table.

It couldn’t come at a better time for Jessie Duda, who turned 13 on Wednesday.

With that, Rooney was back where he belonged, thanks to a determined family and pretty special friends and strangers.