Did Digger the dog climb out of facility? Palatine family still searching

Digger the dog has been missing for 10 days already - but not from any lack of effort in trying to track him down.

Todd and Christy Caponi of Palatine and their three young children were just walking into Disneyland in California on the morning of Aug. 5 when they were called by their animal boarding service back home with news that Digger was gone.

Jennifer Riordan, one of the operating partners of Baxter & Beasley boarding service in Palatine, said the only way Digger could have gotten out was to scale the 8-foot fence. But she added that no one actually saw the German shepherd-Beagle mix do this.

Todd Caponi said he suspects that a latch was left open on garbage pickup day.

"We have a 4-foot fence at home and (Digger's) never even put his paws on it or climbed on the couch. That's not him," Caponi said.

Riordan maintained that there was no lapse of security at her company, where every precaution has been taken against such escapes.

"We are an ironclad facility," she said.

The workers at Baxter & Beasley have been devastated by the loss of Digger and are doing what they can to help find him, she said.

"All of us here are heartbroken," Riordan said.

Digger was being boarded with two more of the Caponis' dogs, Crede and Oscar, who seem to be feeling the loss of the leader of their pack, Todd Caponi said.

Since the search for Digger began, he said a staggering number of volunteers have been following up on a number of leads, some of which he believes have been legitimate.

"From the leads we've gotten, we think he's hiding and in survival mode," Todd Caponi said. He asked that anyone with a lead on the dog's location call (847) 567-4550.

He acknowledges the possibility that someone may have found Digger and be treating him as their own, but he is hopeful Digger's microchip will eventually lead to his being reunited with his true family if he's brought to a veterinarian or shelter.

The news of Digger's disappearance nearly ruined the family's day at Disneyland, but encounters with such costumed characters as Cinderella and Woody from "Toy Story" helped distract Todd Caponi's 10-year-old stepdaughter, 4-year-old daughter and 2-year-old son.

"Disneyland does do that," he said.

Since the family has returned home, the biggest scare came when Caponi was called to identify a dead animal that looked like Digger floating in a pond in front of Little Sisters of the Poor on Northwest Highway in Palatine. The animal turned out to be a raccoon.

While Baxter & Beasley is only a mile from Digger's home, Caponi said the dog would have had no points of reference to lead him in the right direction.

"It's not a neighborhood where we would have normally walked," he said of the commercial area near the boarding service.

Though the kids continue to be despondent, Caponi believes his wife, Christy, has been the hardest hit. A true dog lover, she's the main reason the family came to own three dogs in the first place, he said.

The Caponi family of Palatine and numerous volunteers are continuing to search the area for Digger the dog, missing since Aug. 5. Courtesy of Todd Caponi
The Caponi family of Palatine - mom Christy along with 2-year-old Luke, 4-year-old Eden and 10-year-old Skye Magee - try to keep it together just after learning of the disappearance of their dog Digger while at Disneyland. Courtesy of Todd Caponi
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