By Monica Pryts/Staff Writer
A Pine Township family's beloved dog has been missing since Sept. 20, but they haven't given up hope Saga will safely return home.
"She's still definitely on people's minds," said Lisa Trezona as she and her family played with two of their other dogs, Angel and Dyson.
Saga is a 2-year-old American bulldog who "disappeared without a trace" from their yard, where the brindle female's kennel was fenced in on the side of their Route 208 home.
Mrs. Trezona put Saga in her kennel at 9 a.m. that day, and when the family returned home, she was gone. There weren't any signs the dog broke out of the kennel or that someone broke in to steal her.
"Someone knows something," she said of Saga's whereabouts, her husband Brian and their children Kendra, 11, and Trey, 8, agreeing.
The Trezonas, who have four other American bulldogs, adopted Saga from Norway after a year-long application process and had her for just 18 days when she went missing. No one knew they were bringing Saga home.
"She just really enjoyed me," Kendra said of their short time together.
When Saga disappeared, she was wearing a 2-inch thick black collar without tags and weighed about 85 pounds, and wasn't expected to get any bigger. She has a white chest.
The family's tireless efforts to find their pet have attracted a lot of attention, especially on the social media website Facebook, where Mrs. Trezona posts updates and collects information on tips and potential sightings.
"I cannot believe the kindness of strangers," she said, noting the $1,000 reward doesn't seem important to those who have reached out.
Saga has her own Facebook page called "Please Help Saga Return Home Butler, PA." Mrs. Trezona also posts on a Facebook site run by a group called "Mercer County Pets."
Those two sites have produced love, support, prayers and happy thoughts, and even help from people who have taken it upon themselves to go look for Saga, mainly based on possible sightings, the latest one in the New Castle/Edinburg area.
"I don't even know how to express how thankful we are," she said. "We'll have to pay it forward."
Flyers bearing Saga's photo and description have been making the rounds: classified ads, road and utility crews, mail carriers, pizza delivery places, grocery stores, veterinarian's offices, utility poles, pet stores, animal shelters, missing pet websites, Armstrong Cable's public access channel and more.
There have been "lots of calls" with leads from all over Mercer County and surrounding areas that didn't pan out, Trezona said, adding they get email updates from shelters within 200 miles of their home whenever a dog that resembles Saga is rescued.
"I'm grateful for any calls," Mrs. Trezona said, adding she follows up with the report she filed with Pennsylvania State Police.
Saga has a microchip containing the family's contact information. It can be scanned by shelters and veterinarians but does not work like a global positioning system as some people mistakenly believe - Saga can't be tracked down according to her current location, Trezona said.
Saga's photo is turning up elsewhere as people continue to circulate digital versions of the flyer; people from places including Seattle, Texas, California and Idaho have contacted the Trezonas, wondering if a similar-looking dog they've seen could be Saga.
"Networking is a good thing," Mrs. Trezona said.
They can't estimate the number of tips or the countless hours they've searched by car and foot, but several leads have resulted in other missing pets being reunited with their families.
"We've found other people's lost dogs," she said.
Even though Saga lived with the Trezonas for a short time, the family got to know and love her right away. She's very friendly and likely trusting enough to maybe have gotten into a stranger's car, if that's how she disappeared.
Kendra, who wants to be a veterinarian, recalled how she would sneak outside to see Saga before getting ready for school and said the dog was well-behaved, affectionate and "very lovable."
She could follow basic commands and played well with the other dogs, said Kendra, who's also taken copies of the flyer to school. Mrs. Trezona even contacted Ellen Degeneres in hopes of getting the story on her talk show.
"There are really good people out there," she said of what this experience has taught her family.
Between following leads and updating Saga's followers, the Trezonas work full-time and keep busy with Trey's and Kendra's after-school activities and the other dogs, but they continue to wait patiently to be reunited.
"I know God's watching over," Kendra said tearfully, Dyson and Angel quieting down.
Please call 724-967-3122 or email firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any information about Saga. There is a $1,000 reward. Saga is on Facebook at "Please Help Saga Return Home Butler, PA."
Published Jan. 9, 2013, in Allied News. Pick up a copy at 201 A Erie St., Grove City.