Last Aug. 9, Curt McWherter’s dog went missing from his apartment.
Born with cerebral palsy, Curt is considered disabled. He moved to Newton earlier this summer because he could save more money residing in Newton than in Des Moines, where he previously lived. He said he has always enjoyed the small town atmosphere.
“My dog’s my best friend, and I was heartbroken when she went missing,” he said.
That afternoon, Curt took his dog, Izzy, outside like any other day. While the two were outside, the parking lot dumpster lid flew open, making a sound “almost like a shotgun.”
“She got scared, took the leash right out of my hand and took off,” Curt said.
Curt spent the rest of the day and Saturday walking around the neighboring areas in search of Izzy.
With the generous help of many in the community, Curt was able to distribute fliers across town. The flier also said that a $500 reward would be given to anyone who found Izzy.
Curt said he doesn’t have a lot of money because he is on a fixed income, but he would give anything to have Izzy back.
Some called and said they spotted her near Emerson Hough, Walgreens or Maxim Advertising, and a few said Izzy might have been in their yard.
On his mission to find Izzy, Curt ran into many helpful residents, like 14-year-old Brennen Dodd, who was playing football with his little brother Drew and told Curt they would keep an eye out, or Derec Gladson, who took his own car, helped put up fliers and helped with the search over the entire weekend.
Curt said Gladson was an instrumental person on his mission to find Izzy.
“There were great people everywhere and it’s been just a wonderful community in Newton. I’m from Des Moines and people don’t act that way there.”
Curt’s dad and step-dad also came from Des Moines to assist him in the search that weekend.
From Saturday afternoon to Sunday, Curt received no calls, which he found to be a scary time.
However, Dennis Breckenridge of Newton called Sunday evening because he had spotted Izzy in his backyard a few times. He found the flyer at the gas station.
Dennis had just put his dog, Gizzy, down on Friday. Dennis and Curt live six blocks apart on the same street. When Curt got to the Dennis’ home, he and Dennis found Izzy in the backyard. The 4 1/2-year-old dog, who is said to be harmless, friendly and quiet, was found lying in a small patch of corn, hidden behind a pile of wood, but she took off running toward Emerson Hough before they could get too close.
“I think she was scared and didn’t know what to do,” Dennis said.
Izzy, Curt and Dennis headed toward Emerson Hough, and the men found her running through yards. Brennen and his brother happened to be playing outside again when they spoted Izzy. Brennen took off sprinting, chasing Izzy down and ultimately catching her, while Curt and Dennis looked on.
“He just took off running, like a crazy person. He was like Flash Gordon,” Curt said.
“I felt great when I caught the dog and was excited to give it back to the owner,” Brennen said.
Curt decided to give the reward money event htough he was there for the finding of Izzy. Because both Dennis and Brennen played an extremely valuable role, he gave a $500 reward to each of them.
“If Dennis wouldn’t of called and Brennen wouldn’t of caught her for me, I don’t know what I would have done,” Curt said. “It was the best money I ever spent in my life.”
The dog hunt lasted 57 hours. In that time, Curt found his dog, gained some friends and a gained a newfound belief in the kindness of people.
“There have been so many nice strangers that I’ve never met before, and I want to thank all of them. I have tons and tons of respect for people in this town and especially to the people that tried to help.”
Staff writer Kate Malott may be contacted at (641) 792-3121, ext. 422, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.