• Last modified 698 days ago (June 12, 2019)


Small dog returns from 10-day vacation

Staff writer

The Memorial Day weekend is always a somber time to remember those that have sacrificed for the benefit of our country.

A different kind of sadness struck a Marion couple early that Sunday night when their tiny dog, Jazz, made an escape out the door in the 300 block of Locust St. 

Jacob and Macy Harper had decided to bring Jazz along to visit Jacob’s parents, Terry and Brenda Edwards. But Jazz apparently had other ideas.

Macy immediately took to the Internet, posting that Jazz had escaped and asking for help finding her. 

Friends and family began searching the area for the year-old Shorkie not long after. 

The odds of a safe return were stacked against Jazz with wide-open fields and woods just a couple of blocks away from where she escaped. 

The heartbreak hit not just hit the Harpers, but Jazz’s best friend, fellow Shorkie Jewlz, too. 

“She spent the night beside the bed crying,” Macy said. “I spent the first few days crying, too. I couldn’t think about it without doing it, and it kept us awake at night.”

Jacob feared the worst right away, too, and in an attempt to soothe the loss for both them and Jewlz, the Harpers got another puppy, another Shorkie named Jada. 

“If Jazz comes back, we’ll have three dogs then,” Macy said. 

 Hope appeared to be lost until the dog was spotted May 28 on US-56 near a motocross track on the north side of town. 

Macy’s mother, Sherri Hess, and sister, Averi, ventured out to the area and saw Jazz, but the dog took off, despite knowing both of them. 

The countryside was scoured by the end of the workday with more family, friends, and co-workers, with a good many searching on foot but to no avail. 

Residents north of the highway were put on notice, and the Harpers returned to the area every day in hopes of seeing and finding Jazz. 

So desperate were the Harpers, they even set up traps with food inside as did a resident, who also provided a dish of food and a blanket. 

The fact that the dog had lasted as long as she had was hard for anyone aware of the situation to believe. 

The highway and railroad tracks are nearby, and the area contains all the dangerous animals you’d find in the Kansas wilderness.

Coyotes, owls, skunks, snakes, and the barren terrain made for a less than ideal setting for a toy dog. 

Hope for Jazz’s survival looked grim until sunrise June 2. 

Marion running enthusiast Kodi Panzer spotted Jazz by the railroad tracks just past the highway when she was out for her early morning run. 

A few hours later, the search resumed just to the east of where they’d been looking before. 

Searchers again came away empty handed, but the Harpers laid out one of Jacob’s sweatshirts along with more food in case Jazz was hungry.  

The Harpers’ luck stayed the same until June 5 — the 10th day Jazz had been gone. 

The dog must’ve decided she’d had enough of the great outdoors as she ventured into town, just a few blocks north of home on Ashley Dr., just west of the country club.

Chris Sprowls spotted her in his backyard in the early afternoon, headed towards the elementary school playground.

Searchers were at it again, combing the area by bicycle, by car, and on foot, with all having the same luck.

With home just blocks away, one searcher told both Jacob and Macy if Jazz was really that close to home, she’d be there soon. 

After nearly 11 days, Jazz let the Harpers know she was home by scratching at their front door. 

“I was afraid she was gone for good,” Jacob said. “It was crazy, like something out of the movie ‘The Incredible Journey.’ I’m still shocked she came back.”

The hiatus had taken its toll on the little dog.

She was covered in ticks, several pounds lighter, and scraped up, and her paw pads were raw, prompting an emergency trip to a vet minutes after arriving home.

Jazz had to spend the night and had her coat shaved to remove all the ticks but returned home the next day, much to the Harpers’ and Jewlz’s delight. 

Later in the evening, Jacob posted a thank-you message to all those who helped in Jazz’s return and counted his blessings. 

“After 10 days in the wild our girl has finally made it home,” he wrote. “Thank you everyone for your help. This has been a humbling experience, and just goes to show why you always keep faith in God!”

Last modified June 12, 2019