There were less lost dogs over July Fourth fireworks celebrations in Moore County this year.
Out of 11 Moore County veterinarian offices, there was not a single case of an owner calling in search of a lost dog. Last year, 10 of those offices reported some calls, and one office reported over 20.
“It’s been remarkable,” Pinetree Animal Hospital employee Carly Hough said, “We haven’t had any calls. Last year was sad, but then you get happy when they come back, and that makes you feel good.”
This year, one of the few lost dogs was Maxie, a German Shepherd, who “vanished” on Independence Day evening from her fenced yard in Lakeview where she regularly stays until she comes indoors to sleep with her family. Neighbors had been shooting off fireworks, and Maxie’s family had left for a cookout and fireworks at Morgan Bullins’ mother’s home.
Daughter Abigail is nine and said that Maxie is her “best friend.”
“We adopted her from the shelter in December 2019, and she follows me everywhere I go. We play fetch outside, soccer, and we dance. Maxie’s life is great!” Abigail said.
Tim Bullins and his family rode around the neighborhood until 1:30 a.m. Sunday morning and then posted photos on Facebook asking the community to help search for Maxie. Abigail left a trail of Cheez-Its for Maxie “because it’s her favorite treat.”
On Sunday, the family went door-to-door asking if anyone had seen her.
“I ran up and down the road trying to find her,” Abigail said.
Around 11 p.m. Sunday, a neighbor, Brent McKenzie, who had seen their Facebook post commented that he had seen her near Crystal Lake.
“Timmy and one of his friends, Buddy Fields, were still riding around searching for her, so I quickly called him to let him know she had been spotted. They drove down to the lake, and Buddy saw her coming out of the woods behind the building where the auction used to take place across from the lake,” Morgan Bullins said, “Once Maxie realized it was Timmy, she came right to him!”
The Bullins plan to keep Maxie protected indoors during July Fourth celebrations next year.
They are grateful for everyone who networked their lost dog post on Facebook and highly suggests using Facebook for lost pets. Their post was shared over 300 times and without that, they “may not have found her.”
They are also grateful for all in the Lakeview community who helped search.
Abigail is especially thankful for her “Paw Paw riding over and looking for Maxie.”
“I want to give a special thanks to “Fatback” Fields for seeing her pup out of the woods,” Morgan said.
This year, each Moore County municipality had canceled regular fireworks presentations due to COVID-19 restrictions.
According to Deputy Fire Marshal Bryan Lyczkowski, there were three permits issued for fireworks displays.
Seven Lakes West shot off fireworks July 2 from Pine Island in the middle of Lake Auman. Mid-South Country Club had one on July 3 and the Country Club of North Carolina had one on July Fourth.
Last year, seven fireworks permits were issued for celebrations.
Feature photo: Abigail and her best friend Maxie. Contributed photo.
Written by Sandhills Sentinel Journalism Intern Stephanie M. Sellers.