Despite fireworks being illegal on the Kenai Peninsula, a midnight launching at the mouth of the Kasilof River may have cost a pet owner her relationship with a canine companion of more than 12 years.
"I'm sad, really sad. I've had him since he was six months old. He's like family," said Hollyn Smith, of Homer, in of her dog named Sketcher, who went missing early Sunday morning.
Sketcher is a blue heeler, and is white and black in color, with nearly all black on his ears and tail. He weighs about 50 to 60 pounds, and is typically friendly, and may even get into a vehicle with someone if they give him the command "Sketcher load up." He has no collar or tags.
"He's usually good with people, but I imagine he's a little skittish right now. He's never run away before," Smith said.
As to the circumstances that led to him going on the lam, Smith said it happened quite quickly after the dog got spooked.
"I had just gotten to the north side of the mouth of the Kasilof River to dipnet. It was about midnight and somebody at Ocean Beauty started setting off fireworks. I turned around and Sketcher was gone," she said.
Smith and two friends began searching everywhere for the missing dog, but due to the late hour, many people were turning in for the night and darkness had fallen. She decided to grab a few hours of sleep and resume the search during morning light.
"We drove up and down the road and went up to the bridge over the Kasilof to see if he had crossed there, but no one had seen him. When we went back to the mouth, and we found a women who said she saw a dog swim across the river when the fireworks were going off," Smith said.
With new hope, she quickly drove over to the southside of the river's mouth and began asking if anyone there had spotted Sketcher.
"About a dozen people confirmed seeing him. They said he swam across and then just split," she said.
Smith and friends continued looking for the next few days, but had no luck. She began asking for the public's help to find the dog. She made "lost dog" fliers and has posted them in numerous locations around Kasilof, and the surrounding areas, but believes the dog is somewhere in the Cohoe Loop area.
"I'm hoping maybe somebody picked him up and just doesn't know who he belongs to, but I love this dog and really want to get him back," she said.
Anyone who spots Sketcher is asked to call Hollyn Smith at 907-399-3633 or her friend, Nicole, who lives locally at 907-399-4161.
Joseph Robertia can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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