Advertisement

Teddy’s Home : A Wayward Dog Returns, Ending Former Owner’s 3 1/2-Month Search

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Teddy is an odd-looking Irish setter-dachshund, whose stumpy legs end in wandering paws, a dog so ugly nobody wanted him.

Nobody but Joan Peck, and she was enough.

Peck’s saga of devotion to her skittish, footloose mongrel ended in triumph Tuesday when her 3 1/2 months of scouring the brushy hillsides of Woodland Hills and crawling along muddy storm drains finally paid off.

As she slept in the mountains after yet another late-night vigil, Teddy came shyly back to her.

Advertisement

He looked scruffy and skinnier, but otherwise none the worse.

“What a relief,” said Peck, 61, a junior high school English and social studies teacher who lives in Echo Park. “All the anxiety is gone. I just worried about him because I had a feeling he was out there. I feel like this tremendous burden has been lifted.”

Peck, a former city animal regulation commissioner, acquired Teddy when he was only 4 days old, intending to find him a new home. His littermates went quickly, but it took 2 1/2 years to find someone who would take Teddy because he is shy and funny looking.

Peck had just begun to miss him when, after six days in his new home on Canoga Avenue near Mulholland Drive, Teddy bolted out the gate and took up life in the chaparral of the Santa Monica Mountains.

Advertisement

His new owner told Peck she could have him back if she could find him, and her quest began.

Since then, Peck had spent several hours a day traipsing through the neighborhood and nearby countryside, calling Teddy’s name and leaving snacks to attract him. Peck blanketed the neighborhood with flyers and mailed more than 1,500 postcards to residents. She placed daily ads in the lost and found column of The Times.

She routinely made the rounds of animal shelters, checking to see if animal regulation officers had found Teddy--dead or alive. A local Boy Scout troop went door-to-door asking if anyone had seen Teddy. A volunteer search and rescue team spent a day looking fruitlessly for the dog.

Following a tip from residents on Lubao Avenue just south of Ventura Boulevard, Peck drove to the neighborhood Monday night with Louie, a relative and buddy of Teddy’s, and settled in her car for the evening. She drifted off to sleep around midnight, and was awakened about 90 minutes later by Louie scratching at the window to get out.

Advertisement

There was Teddy, sniffing around the car. Louie was let out to play with him and Peck approached cautiously until she touched her wandering pal. Tentative at first, Teddy apparently was put at ease by Peck’s touch.

“He was just ecstatic,” she said. “He jumped all over me and kept whirling around.”

Teddy quickly settled back into the lazy life at Peck’s house, she said.

This morning, Peck said, her long-running Times advertisement that started “Still Lost . . . " will be replaced by one that begins “No Longer Lost . . . . “

Advertisement

Peck said she figured Teddy ate from other dogs’ dinners or scavenged trash cans to survive, but she is not sure.

And Teddy isn’t talking.


Advertisement