KOBE FOUND: woman recovers lost dog in Peterborough after a week-long search

  • Kobe, a shepherd mix, was lost on Temple Mountain for a week, before being recovered by his owner, Meagan Barbero of Peabody, Massachusetts, who searched exhaustively for him every day. —Courtesy photo

  • Kobe, a shepherd mix, was lost on Temple Mountain for a week before being recovered by his owner, Meagan Barbero of Peabody, Massachusetts, who searched exhaustively for him every day. Courtesy photo

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Wednesday, June 13, 2018 6:1PM

For the past week, Meagan Barbero has only had one thing on her mind: Recovering Kobe.

Kobe is Barbero’s shepherd/lab mix, a rescue from Puerto Rico that she adopted six months ago. The two were enjoying a hike on Pack Monadnock on June 3, when another hiker spooked Kobe and he broke free of Barbero’s control, running off.

“We chased him, but we couldn’t get him back. He ran across Route 101, and almost got hit by a car,” said Barbero in an interview on Monday. “We looked until 11 o’clock that night.”

It was the first long day in what would become a week of long days for Barbero, who lives in Peabody, Massachusetts. The next morning, and for the next seven days, she would make the drive up to New Hampshire to look for Kobe, even taking off several days of work to do so, bolstered by several sightings of Kobe in the Pack Monadnock area.

“Everyone was really understanding. My boss just said, ‘Do what you have to do,’” said Barbero.

The days spent looking weren’t the difficult part, she said. But the times when she had to give up for the day and go back home.

“It was awful,” said Barbero. “When I’d get home, that’s when it would sink in, that he wasn’t here with me.”

Barbero printed up fliers by the hundreds and talked to residents in the area to ask if they’d seen her dog. The community immediately latched on to her plight, said Barbero. 

Temple’s Animal Control officer Jennifer Rheaume assisted with searching for Kobe, and offered Barbero food and accomodations. Sharon residents Kate and David Bergquist offered to show her the location of several trailheads in Sharon and assist with the foot search. Peterborough residents Joyce and David Chiulli helped her make and distribute “lost dog” posters all over Peterborough, Temple and Sharon, and also offered to let Barbero stay at their house while she was continuing the search.

“Everyone was just amazing,” said Barbero. “Everyone wanted to help.”

“I just thought, this is a person, their first time in Peterborough, I didn’t want her to remember our town as a place of tragedy,” said Joyce Chiulli.

She said she and her husband were compelled to help because of the dedication she saw Barbero displaying towards finding her beloved dog.

“It was her determination. She was so committed. It’s a testimony to her love, persistence, optimism and patience.”

On Wednesday, Barbero hiked up one of the Sharon trailheads that the Bergquists had showed her, looking for Kobe. The next day, she said, there was a sighting of him on that trail.

“I really think that was due to us being over there. He smelled us and knew we were there,” she said.

Barbero tried multiple tactics – she left out Kobe’s crate, and items of her laundry, set up feeding stations and trail cameras. One of the trail cameras caught a glimpse of Kobe, still in the area of the trailhead at Temple Road and Greenleaf Road in Sharon, in the early hours of Saturday morning.

Convinced that Kobe was in that area, Barbero decided that on Saturday night, she would not return to Massachusetts, but sleep in her car at the Sharon trailhead. She put out Kobe’s crate, and put out her laundry hoping to lead Kobe down the trail and to her. 

Barbero was only able to sleep fitfully, but was asleep when 4:30 a.m. on Sunday morning came around, and she was awoken by a scratching on her car.

“There he was,” said Barbero. “It was absolutely unbelievable. He knew who I was right away.”

He was a bit worse for the wear, said Barbero – he’d lost about 7 pounds, not insignificant for a dog that usually weighs about 50, and chafing from his long ramble had caused his harness to cut into him. Barbero took him immediately to an emergency veterinary clinic to be looked over, but said that overall, his health was good.

“He slept all last night and today, he’s always right by me,” said Barbero. “He seems very happy to be home.”

Though his last experience in the Monadnock Region was a rough one, Barbero said she’d like to bring Kobe back to the area again – so that all those that helped reunite her with her “miracle puppy” can meet him. While the week without her dog was awful, said Barbero, those people convinced her of the strength of the community.

“I actually want to look at houses in Peterborough, now,” she said.