One fortunate New Hyde Park resident was rescued from the freezing cold on Tuesday, Feb. 25 thanks to Dr. Julia Harmon, DVM of the New Hyde Park Animal Hospital and Cathy Grasman, owner of Jo-Mar Grooming and Boarding in Floral Park. That night, at approximately 8 p.m., Harmon was going to her car after work when she saw Spike, a wandering bulldog near Brooklyn Ave., one block from the vet’s office on Jericho Tpke.
Harmon immediately brought Spike, who was not wearing a collar and did not have a microchip implanted for identification, back to the vet’s office. The temperature outside was already at 31 degrees, but felt like 20 degrees with the windchill. Luckily Spike was brought in from the cold early; temperatures dropped down to 25 degrees that night.
Joanna Wilkerson, a veterinary assistant at New Hyde Park Animal Hospital, told Floral Park Dispatch, “We thought he [Spike] looked familiar, but maybe because he’s from the neighborhood.” She quickly posted a photo of the dog on Facebook and shared with some of the local pet professionals. Dozens of responses poured in.
Wilkerson said, “We posted his picture on Facebook and got in touch with Cathy at Jo-Mar because we knew she deals a lot with the bulldog rescue; if anyone would know what to do with a lost bulldog it would be her.”
When the animal hospital opened again the next morning, Grasman, of Jo-Mar in Floral Park, said she was at their door waiting to help reunite Spike with his still-missing owner. Spike was moved to Jo-Mar’s salon where he was treated to a full spa treatment, complete with a blueberry facial while Grasman continued to try her sources to find Spike’s owner.
“We could tell he was someone’s pet,” said Grasman. “He was clean and well cared for and had a great disposition.”
By 11 a.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 26, Grasman told Floral Park Dispatch that Spike had been reunited with his family.
A client of the New Hyde Park Animal Hospital, Rose Doering, of New Hyde Park had seen the Facebook postings about the “found bulldog” and within hours, had seen a poster in her neighborhood about a “lost bulldog.” She knew the similarities between the bulldogs could not be a coincidence. Doering grabbed the contact information from the poster and helped connect Spike’s owner, Aceneth Curra, to Grasman at Jo-Mar Grooming, where Spike was staying.
Curra was so excited to be reunited with her lost pooch. She said, “We were so worried about Spike because he has epilepsy and needs medication every day.”
Four-year-old Spike was in the yard when the Curras’ babysitter left for the night. He made his escape and began wandering the neighborhood, possibly with the help of a loose yard gate.
“He has gotten into trouble like this before,” said Curra. “Within about an hour we realized Spike was missing; my kids, Miguel and Luna, were so upset.” She said her son, Miguel, 16, went out searching for Spike for a long time and even posted signs.
Days later, Grasman, who was still so excited about reuniting Spike with his family said, “I knew we could help reunite this baby with his family.” She shared her advice to all pet owners, especially pet parents of animals with medication conditions, “Pets should be microchipped, or at the very least should be wearing a collar; Spike’s epilepsy condition could have changed this story, luckily he didn’t have a seizure with all of this excitement.