Sleepy Hollow dog home after five-day search -- and a dramatic rescue

  • Jennifer, left, and Rich English, and their daughter Cady are happy to have Daisy, their 15-month-old Labrador retriever, back after she was missing for five days from her Sleepy Hollow home.

      Jennifer, left, and Rich English, and their daughter Cady are happy to have Daisy, their 15-month-old Labrador retriever, back after she was missing for five days from her Sleepy Hollow home. John Starks | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 1/19/2021 9:25 AM

Through five days of searching for their beloved dog, Jennifer and Rich English saw their emotions swing an unbearable number of times between hope and hopelessness.

Miraculously, though, Daisy is back home thanks to community members who saw her on a road and the police and fire personnel who freed her when she became stuck inside a culvert pipe.

 

"I felt like I had an anvil taken off my chest," Rich English said. "Finding her again really felt like that."

After exhausting nearly every available avenue to find their 15-month-old Labrador retriever -- and exhausting themselves in the process -- the Sleepy Hollow couple finally got the news Sunday afternoon they'd almost given up on hearing: Daisy was spotted after bolting several days earlier.

A woman and her son, who had seen flyers with Daisy's picture on them, noticed the dog running around Boncosky Road near Jelke Creek Bird Sanctuary. After calling Jennifer and Rich, they saw Daisy dart into a culvert pipe and become stuck inside because of a blockage of sediment at the other end.

Personnel from multiple police and fire departments worked Sunday to free Daisy the dog from a culvert in Sleepy Hollow after she'd been missing for five days.
Personnel from multiple police and fire departments worked Sunday to free Daisy the dog from a culvert in Sleepy Hollow after she'd been missing for five days. - Courtesy of the Sleepy Hollow Police Department

Rich and Jennifer soon arrived, as did many of the volunteers who helped in the search. Help also arrived from the Sleepy Hollow Police Department, the Rutland-Dundee Townships Fire Protection District, the Carpentersville Police Department, the West Dundee Police Department and the Kane County sheriff's office.

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After nearly two hours of trying to either clear the blockage or push her out the other side, an effort that included using the Jaws of Life rescue tool, Daisy emerged unhurt.

She was scared, dehydrated and a few pounds shy of her normal 50-pound frame, but Daisy was overall healthy.

An entire community, meanwhile, was relieved.

"It's the worst imaginable situation," Jennifer English said, "but it was the most heartwarming thing to see how many people were so nice and so helpful."

The English family adopted Daisy from a rescue shelter in Wisconsin just a few days before this unforgettable experience began. While walking her on Jan. 12, Rich slipped on the ice, fell in the snow and accidentally let go of the leash.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 
Daisy, a 15-month-old Labrador retriever, was found after she went missing for five days from her Sleepy Hollow home.
  Daisy, a 15-month-old Labrador retriever, was found after she went missing for five days from her Sleepy Hollow home. - John Starks | Staff Photographer

Daisy, still skittish in her new surroundings, took off running.

"I didn't sleep much the last few days, or eat," Rich English said. "The support we've received really kept us going. If we had been doing this on our own the last few days, it would have been overwhelming."

One neighbor offered scent dogs to track her. Another offered traps to safely secure Daisy.

When Rich and Jennifer printed up flyers to post throughout the area, a Fed Ex Office facility gave them a discount. Facebook groups and online apps went into action, but to no avail.

As each lead turned up empty, the pain became greater, but the persistence paid off.

"I can't explain the pain that's in your heart," Jennifer English said. "You've grown to love this dog. Just looking in her eyes, it melts your soul."

Jennifer insists Daisy will be on two leashes from now on ... just in case.

"I'm so amazed with the community and the way they came to our aid," she said. "It makes me tear up just thinking about the number of people who came forward and wanted to help."

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