The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

January 19, 2014

A strange ‘tail’

Elkmont family’s dog, Roscoe, returns after 6 month journey

By Lora Scripps

— Jim and Lawanna Hurt have a special place in their hearts for their family dog, Roscoe P. Coltrane, aka Roscoe Red Devil, an Australian Shepherd mix.

Fact is the couple loves all dogs. They have four that live at their Elkmont home. Sometimes more.

So, when Roscoe went missing in late July, the Hurts were worried.

Jim and Lawana were visiting their daughter in Texas, and a sitter was taking care of things back home.

On the Sunday the couple was scheduled to arrive home, Roscoe didn’t show up for breakfast. By the time the Hurts arrived that afternoon, Roscoe still hadn’t come home.

“Sometimes he took an adventure but he always came back,” Lawana said.

This time, Roscoe was a no-show.

Hours turned into days, days into weeks and weeks into months.

When Jim, 83, was out he would look for his pal. If Jim traveled to a city nearby, he would look for Roscoe at the city’s shelters or at the pound. 

“My husband never gave up,” Lawana said, adding she thought surely someone had picked him up. “He always looked for him and prayed for him.”

Roscoe, who had been with the Hurts for six years, was known for visiting Elkmont High School.

There was one year Roscoe visited the school nearly every day, according to Jim. It’s been told Roscoe attended a few basketball games and wandered into a few classrooms and buildings.

“He had to go see the kids at school,” Lawana said. “Jim would always have to go get him.”

He would visit the kids so much that Jim and Lawana made him a collar bearing his name.  He would also sport a red vest — almost like a cape — with white letters spelling the words “Roscoe Red Devil.”

“We would be out walking and kids I didn’t know would run up and say, ‘Look mom, it’s Roscoe,’” Jim said.

Big Roscoe was also known to spend afternoons on the porch with Jim. Most times sitting in Jim’s lap.

“He’s quite a dog,” Jim said. “Seems like everybody knows him. He’s either been to their house or in their yard.”

That’s what made it so difficult when Roscoe never showed back up.

Yet, last Sunday — nearly six months later — the Hurts returned home from church and received a call from their niece, Beth Hobbs.

Beth had been looking online at “Animals Lost and Found in Alabama” Facebook page and saw a dog that looked like Roscoe.

The Hurts called a number given on the site and found out the dog was at an animal hospital in Decatur. He was scheduled to go to the pound the next day.

Jim headed to the facility that night.

Low and behold, it was Roscoe.

At first, Jim was unsure if he would be able to take him home because it was late.

“When I got over there and looked at him and they saw how happy I was to see him, they said, ‘Take him home.’”

It seems Roscoe had been on quite an adventure.

The Hurts found out Nichole Martin of Elkmont had seen Roscoe a couple of times while traveling near Easter Ferry and Cross Key roads. At first he wouldn’t come to her, but she didn’t give up.  She put him in the car and brought him home.

Unfortunately, Roscoe needed a little medical attention and he didn’t get along with the Martin family dogs. So, she took him to an animal hospital in Decatur.

Today, Roscoe is healthy and happy. The Hurts are overjoyed he is back home.

“Gosh, I was excited to see him,” Jim said. “I love that dog and he just loves me.”

The Hurts are also grateful to Nichole for finding Roscoe. 

“It was a blessing to be able to help this family,” Nichole said. “I’m really grateful Roscoe was returned to his owners. It’s a miracle when a dog is gone that long and is returned to his owners.”