YONKERS, N.Y. -- One Yonkers family was anxiously hanging by the phone this week, waiting for word of their beloved lost dog, Hazel.
The 5-month-old Basenji-chocolate Labrator Retriever mix had somehow escaped out of their fenced-in backyard New Year’s Eve, probably because she had been frightened by the sound of fireworks, said her owner, Jason.
The family plastered as many telephone poles and bus stops within a 10-mile radius that it could, and notified online lost pets websites, as well as shelters and pet stores.
Folks came out of the woodwork to help them find Hazel, who was named for the color of her eyes.
“It really was a great mobilization,” Jason said, adding: “It’s nice to see people still care.”
When the phone finally rang Monday morning, the caller had news, but it was the worst kind: Hazel had been found dead, the apparent victim of a hit and run.
The injured pup had crawled to the shelter of some leftover Christmas trees braced against the side of a building on the Bronx River Road.
The building manager had discovered her body when he went to open up Monday, Jason said.
“Ironically, the building was the first place we put up the posters,” he added.
The family, especially the children, were “devastated,” but relieved that they had some closure.
“It was a horrible way to begin the new year, but it would have been worse not to ever know what happened to her,” Jason said.
Hazel had been a rescue, adopted out of the North Shore Animal League shelter on Long Island. She was featured ABC-TV "Good Morning America" show's Mission PAWsible, a pet adoptathon, Jason said.
Hazel’s ashes or body will probably be interred at the Hartsdale Pet Cemetery, which, at 117, claims to be the oldest final resting place for pets in the country.
Jason said the family felt it was important to let the public know the outcome of the search, however sad it may be.
“We just want to say thanks to everyone who made an effort to try to find her,” he added.