By Donna Thornton/News Editor
Whisper Ledbetter got a happy ending that she had given up hoping for, when she got her Shih tzu Wicket back after he’d been missing for more than six weeks.
Ledbetter had not seen her dog since Dec. 2.
Ledbetter said she’d got Wicket from a friend who found out she was moving and couldn’t keep the him only two weeks after getting him. She said she had Wicket for about three years, since he was just a puppy.
“He’s my child,” Ledbetter said. “He’s my baby.” Wicket, she explained, thought he had to go everywhere with her and her boyfriend. She went to a baby shower, and her boyfriend went to get something to eat. Leaving his dog and Wicket in the car, he went in to get food at Firehouse Subs. When he came back, Wicket was gone.
“I don’t know if Wicket jumped out of the car behind him,” Ledbetter said. “He’s done that to me before.” Within 10 minutes, she said, there were a lot of people in the parking lot looking and calling for the dog, with no luck.
Ledbetter said when the couldn’t find Wicket, she and friends immediately went to make flyers to put up, seeking public help in finding the dog.
During the days and weeks that followed, those flyers were put all over town, and Ledbetter put ads in newspapers and offered a reward, and still she heard nothing – until last week.
Ledbetter got a phone call from what she considers to be an anonymous caller who explained she’d been staying with friends and heard one of them talking about how her mother had found a dog, and came to realize the owner was looking for the dog.
The woman told Ledbetter how to find a house, where the daughter of the woman who had Wicket lived.
The daughter took Ledbetter and her father to find Wicket.
When they got to the house, Ledbetter said, she did not want to give up the dog.
“She had a seven-year-old grandson who’d gotten attached to him,” Ledbetter said.
“She said she picked him up in the parking lot to keep him from getting hit,” Ledbetter said.
Even though he’d been in a different home for weeks, and was in another room in the house, when the dog heard her voice and her father’s, he started started barking and trying to get to her.
When he did, Ledbetter said, “he went nuts and gave me a million kisses.
“You could tell he was mine,” Ledbetter said. “I think it was obvious to the lady that he was mine and he wanted to be with me.”
That’s where Wicket is now – something Ledbetter didn’t think would happen.
“I’d given up; I really had,” Ledbetter said. “I didn’t think I’d even see him again.”
The woman who called her gave a name, Ledbetter said, but she doesn’t think it was her true name. When she mentioned it to the daughter of the woman who had Wicket, it was not someone she knew.
No one received a reward for getting him back to her, Ledbetter said, however she estimates she spent $1,000 on the search, making flyers and buying ads.
Ledbetter is just happy to have Wicket home.
“It’s still hard for me to believe he’s back,” she said.