Grateful to community for return of lost dog

The D’Andrea family

Guest Column

We would like to thank all the Milltown and East Brunswick residents, police, animal lovers and friends who helped us find our dog, Toby, who was lost for two nights and two days.

Last week our neighbor took care of Toby while we were visiting some relatives. Somehow, the dog got out of his collar and started to run. He became very spooked and just kept running, all the way to Milltown over the N.J. Turnpike bridge on Milltown Road. In Milltown, he was hit by a car but miraculously got up and just kept running.

The Milltown Police Department became involved and helped in the search. Some girls in Milltown saw Toby run into the park and tried to catch him, but he was too fast for anyone.

We called all the local police departments and nearby shelters. Everyone was so concerned, and they cared about what happened to Toby. We put up about 50 posters with his picture and our telephone number, in case anyone spotted him. Local businesses were wonderful and let us put our posters right on their front doors and on cash registers so all could see. We told our friends and neighbors that the best thing they could do was spread the word that Toby was missing.

Toby is very distinctive, and if you saw one of the posters, you’d know what we mean. He has a spot over each eye, like Petey from “The Little Rascals,” and he is blind in his left eye. He is a rescue dog from the organization Puppy Love (, which comes to the Milltown Petco to adopt out dogs and cats. We’ve had him about a year and a half, and in this time he has become a member of the family and is known and loved by many in the area.

Everyone helped out more than we could have imagined; some even went out in search of Toby without even being asked. In addition, we had EBTV, the East Brunswick cable television channel, post a picture and our phone number. We were surprised that so many residents cared and called with information about where they had last seen Toby.

On Monday night, Jan. 10, at 11 p.m., we received a call from the Milltown police with the information that someone had spotted Toby near the Milltown Convenience store, and he was headed north. We jumped in our car and started looking, with the help of the Milltown police. Unfortunately, we were not able to locate him that night.

The next morning, bright and early, we walked with a group of our friends and started handing out Toby fliers to anyone we saw on the streets in Milltown. Everyone was so helpful and so concerned. One Milltown resident called us to let us know that we could put Toby’s picture on the local Milltown television channel.

We received information that Toby was spotted near the Milltown Senior Center. After five hours of searching, we went home to think about what our next step should be.

Soon after, we received a call from Jennifer Williams at the Milltown Public Library, saying that she had seen Toby that morning, but he would not come to her. She put out food for him, and he came back later and ate it. She saw his picture at Bella Villa Restaurant on Main Street in Milltown during lunch and called us immediately afterward.

We drove over to Church Street, and just two houses away from the library, we found Toby. It was a tearful reunion. He was a little bumped and bruised, but still our Toby. The veterinarian said Toby was the luckiest dog he has ever seen, given what he had gone through over the past 48 hours.

We appreciate everyone’s efforts in helping us find Toby. We could not have found him without all your help. We wanted all those who assisted or saw the posters to know that Toby is doing fine at home and is almost back to normal. Words cannot really express our gratitude.

Andy, Wendy, Sean, Gabrielle and Toby D’Andrea are residents of East Brunswick