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      Real Hero: Dog scared by 4th of July fireworks reunited with family

      No question Teddy is a survivor, and thanks to some very dedicated humans, he??s back with his owner, after fending for himself for seven months.

      On the Fourth of July in 2011, the three year old Shetland Sheepdog was at his owner??s son??s home in Skaneateles. Fireworks scared him, and Teddy slipped his collar, The people trying to catch him were ??strangers?? and he ran away.

      The Sawyer family covered the area with lost dog signs, with Teddy??s picture and a phone number.Rosamond Gifford Zoo Director Ted Fox saw the signs on his way to and from his Spafford farm, and was amazed not only at the number, but also that they continued to be up months after the summer disappearance.

      Teddy was spotted in the area south of Skaneateles, but no one could get close. Then, last winter, Fox was watching a deer carcass that coyotes had killed on his property, and noticed a small dog. He recognized Teddy, remembered the phone number from the posters, and called.

      William Sawyer is a forensic effort, and his office manager Jennifer Clark helped Fox map Teddy??s paths.They realized the dog was sleeping in a nearby abandoned barn, that he got to through a culvert under a road to be safe from cars and night predators.

      The team put out food, and a trap. Ted ??who knows a thing or two about animal behavior??revised the trap site, and clothes with a scent that Teddy would recognize were put nearby. The dog was finally caught, in February, taken to a vet and pronounced in excellent health, andhas been returned to his 85 year old owner in Rochester.

      Fox says he??s amazed that the dog was smart enough to survive in the rural area 20 miles south of where he escaped, despite winter conditions and coyotes and boar. The warning, for all pet owners: dogs and cats are frightened by loud noises, like fireworks, and need to be sheltered from what we may consider entertainment.

      For his persistence in tracking and trapping Teddy, Ted Fox is this year??s Red Cross Animal Rescue Real Hero.