PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Twenty-four days, 25 miles, 30 sightings and well over 10,000 shares.
Geno is a gentle giant of a dog, but he also has a habit of getting lost. Both times were when his family went out of town. He obviously doesn’t like being left behind.
This latest time, Geno made his great escape from his grandparents’ house in Valencia while his family was visiting Kentucky.
That was June 14.
The next 24 days would be a test of Geno’s survival skills and his family’s tracking and investigative skills. It’s also an illustration of the good social media can do when used for the right reasons.
Geno, the monster 150-pound tan Cane Corso, is microchipped. When he escaped he also had on a tracking collar, but that soon went dead.
His family, the Deemers, rushed back from their trip and put out the word to family and friends. Wallpapering the northern suburbs in lost flyers. But it was Facebook posts by Geno’s mom, Michelle, that really kicked the search into high gear.
One post racked up more than 8,000 shares. It helped spread the word about Geno and the tips started rolling in. About 30 of them altogether, the Deemers say.
Turns out, Geno never left the northern communities that his home is so close to. Sightings were reported in Mars, Cranberry Township, Seven Fields, West Deer and Pine Township.
Michelle describes Geno’s trek as a sort of “drunken circle” as he tried to get back home. Mostly sticking to wooded areas, Geno would surface in the ‘burbs often to smell houses, trying to find his own.
He also took quite a liking to koi fish ponds, Michelle says.
Michelle calls these her secrets to tracking Geno. As the tips came in, the more the Deemers learned about Geno’s journey.
That allowed them to set up cameras, crates and feeding stations along his likely path. A well-thought out plan indeed.
At the stations, they left food, water and their own clothing for scent items. They also asked people who spotted him not to approach so as not to scare him further away. A phone call or message to them was much more important.
While Geno’s full journey through Southwestern Pennsylvania’s northern areas will never be fully know, his family estimates he traveled about 25 miles. That’s plenty of space for adventure.
Finally, on July 7, the Deemers’ relentless efforts to find Geno paid off.
Late that night, he ended up going into one of the traps the family set for him. When they showed up to get him, it was quite the tail-wagging occasion! Caught on one of the surveillance cameras the Deemers set up, you can watch a joyful Geno reunite with his best friend, Kenny, Michelle’s husband.
Now that he’s safe back at home, Geno is being pampered. A bath, sleeping, lots of attention and eating. After all, he has 30 pounds to gain back.
A trip to the veterinarian shows he’s doing well for the most part. A minor skin infection, easily treatable with antibiotics, the removal of two ticks, and a special diet for the weight gain.
While Geno is busy catching up on his rest, his family has decided to share the rookie tracking knowledge they gained from his ordeal.
Head over to Facebook and you can find and Like the new “Finding Geno” page.
It’s where the Deemers are documenting their trials and tribulations of finding their beloved boy. They’re also sharing cute photos of him. If that’s not reason enough to give them a follow, then what is?
Home again, Geno, and this time boy, STAY.