Updated: 05/08/2014 4:01 PM
Created: 05/07/2014 7:55 PM KSTP.com
By: Beth McDonough
An assistance dog trained by Can Do Canines went missing in the West Metro, and 18-year-old Tyler Pinor was desperate to find her. Thanks to help from social media and the public, the dog was returned to Pinor around 10:30 p.m. Wednesday.
The dog’s name is Geena; she's 3 years old. "She's always by my side; she goes where I go," Pinor said.
He has cerebral palsy and has spent his entire life in a wheelchair. There's a lot he can't do on his own, so he hoped for a service dog. After two years on Can Do Canine's waiting list, he finally received Geena, a highly-trained, 50 pound black lab.
“You name it, she can probably do it," Pinor said.
In pictures, she looks like a dog, but to the Pinor family, she's so much more.
"There's a lot of safety things that go with her being here, not just convenience, but help and companionship. She has vital tasks she does for him," Wendy Pinor said.
"I have somebody to bond with, take the stress away," Tylor Pinor said.
Only Geena went her own way Tuesday. Like she's been taught, Geena let herself outside to her fenced-in backyard in Hanover. Somehow, the gate opened and Geena got loose.
The Pinors posted flyers all over town, drove around the neighborhood and even put out a call on Facebook.
Although she didn't have her collar or special vest on, Geena is microchipped.
Can Do Canines officials said Geena was found by a family's neighbor nearby, and, because the dog didn't have a collar, the neighbor visited Craigslist.org and found a different family who was also missing a dog matching Geena's description. The family came to claim Geena but realized she wasn't their dog, so they brought her to their Elk River home because they didn't want her to go to an animal shelter.
Later that day, the neighbor was informed that the assistance dog had gone missing, so the Elk River family was contacted and they returned Geena to the Pinor family.
Can Do Canine told us this is only the second time in 20 years that a service dog has been lost.
The organization is reminding residents to immediately take lost dogs to a local vet, the Animal Humane Society, or an animal control center to see if the dog is microchipped. If there's no microchip, a Lost Dog Report can be filed with Lost Dogs of Minnesota.