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Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette Logo Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette


Lost dog ‘Rizzo’ recovered near Pines playground

(Aug. 27, 2015) After roaming around Ocean Pines for nearly a month, lost dog Rizzo was finally caught early Wednesday morning and taken to the Worcester County Humane Society in West Ocean City.
Delaware resident Emma Maring, an amateur dogcatcher, tracked the German shepherd to the Community Church in Ocean Pines.
Maring said she used the “Bolt method” to contain the pup, so named after another dog she helped track down earlier this year.
“Basically, it’s just trying to find an area where she frequented, but also that had a fenced-in gated area,” she said.
Knowing that Rizzo had been spotted near the church on several occasions, Maring drove by earlier in the week and noticed a playground behind the church – with a small, fenced-in area.
Maring and Diane Koppelman, an Ocean Pines resident who runs the “Finding Rizzo” Facebook page, asked the director of the church if they could use the grounds at night to try and catch the dog. She agreed, and Maring set out late Tuesday to look for Rizzo.
Facebook sightings suggested the dog regularly traveled down Beauchamp Road, towards the church, Maring said.
“All I did was take hotdog bits and bait it from the street, over a trail, down to and through the gate,” she said. “I wasn’t sure it was going to work because she has been all over the place. She doesn’t seem to stay in one place very long, but we had tracked her and she seemed to have this process.”
Three hours after Maring arrived, Rizzo appeared.
“I looked up and there she was, picking up the hotdog bits from the grass, and then she followed them through the gate into the fenced-in area,” Maring said.
When Rizzo followed the food trail behind a shed, giving Maring enough cover, she simply got out of her car and locked the gate. Then, after sitting with the dog for close to three hours, unable to secure her on a leash, Maring turned to Facebook asking for help. It was just after 1 a.m.
Heather Bahrami, a volunteer at the humane society, responded.
“When Heather offered, I said, ‘Yes, I need you,’” Maring said. “So she came, the police came – because she had called them – and animal control was on the way.”
Maring and Bahrami devised a new plan, making a loop out of the leash and placing more hotdog bits inside. When Rizzo went for the treats, they simply pulled the leash and caught her.
“I would say that was between 2:30 and 3 o’clock, and by 3:30 she was comfortably in the shelter,” Maring said. “She got a really nice bed and she’s very comfortable, and she’s safe.”
Maring said the dog is in “great condition.”
“She did not look thin,” she said. “We felt around and I didn’t feel any ticks, and Heather only found one on her ear, which is amazing.”
Maring said she texted Rizzo’s owners, who live in Pennsylvania, late last night. Proceeds from a gofundme page that Maring established earlier in the week to pay for the dog’s vet bills will be donated to the shelter.
The story of Rizzo had captivated a number of Ocean Pines residents, and the Facebook page set up by Koppelman had 148 members as of press time.
“I’m just feeling so relieved that I personally took the time to contact her worried owners when I first spotted her over two weeks ago hiding in the brush near the indoor pool,” she said.
“You never know how much one random act of kindness or compassion can affect others. In this case, I am so proud of the people not only in the Ocean Pines, River Run, Berlin, Bishopville and surrounding areas, but from Delaware and beyond who responded, bonded together, and cared so much for a dog no one knew, but grew to love.
“She is safe today only because of all of their great efforts being combined,” Koppelman continued. “It’s something that has renewed my faith in people.”