HOUSTON-Daizy is a 4-year-old Blue Lacy. She is also a survivor, because 10 months after Hurricane Ike, Daizy is home again with the Bauer family in Clear Lake.
The hurricane blew down Joe and Kathy Bauer's back fence. So they took Daizy and her Blue Lacy companion, Hank, to the Pet Palace in Webster for boarding until they could get the fence repaired.
"We ended up getting a call at 10 a.m. saying the dogs were gone. Both of 'em," said Joe Bauer, as he held Hank on a leash in their Clear Lake home.
He had Hank because they found him wandering in a wooded area behind the boarding kennel that same day. But Daizy was gone.
"The kids would ask when it was freezing cold, when we had the snow, when we had thunderstorms, they would say, 'Where is Daizy? What do you think she's doing? Is she OK?'" said Bauer.
The family, with the help of their friends and an extended network of Blue Lacy advocates they found online, printed fliers, offered a reward and plastered neighborhoods with yard signs bearing Daizy's picture.
"I couldn't bear the thought of her thinking we abandoned her," said Kathy Bauer. "I just couldn't live with that."
They traveled throughout the Clear Lake, Webster and Pasadena areas responding to reports of possible sightings.But for 10 months Daizy stayed missing.
Last week, the Bauers received the news they had been waiting for. Two of the Bauer's friends said they were positive they'd seen the dog wandering in a wooded area along a power line easement in Webster less than a mile away from the kennel where the dog first disappeared back in September.
Joe, with Hank leading the way, went searching for Daizy and found her, just as their friends had promised. But after months on her own, and apparently fending for herself, she was too skittish and nervously ran away.
Last Thursday night, Kathy made the trip with them.Neighbors reported seeing the dog emerge late at night from the wooded area through a break in a fence at the end of a cul-de-sac. Neighbors had become accustomed to leaving food out for her.She would make her rounds then disappear back into the woods at daybreak.
This time Kathy called to Daizy and gave their familiar family whistle. The dog bolted right toward her.
"She sat and lifted her paw for a handshake like she always would. Then she started whimpering," said Kathy, who admitted she was whimpering a bit, too.
"I was in the middle of the street at 11:45 at night crying and thanking the Lord. It was a wonderful, wonderful reunion."
The Blue Lacy is the official state dog breed of Texas.It is a breed developed in the Texas Hill Country that is reportedly a mix of Greyhound, scent hound and coyote. It is a breed that dog experts predict would be able to fend well for itself if lost or abandoned. And now, although still at times a bit shy and nervous around strangers after her 10 month solo ordeal, Daizy is back at home with the rest of the Bauer pack.
"When you have a bond with an animal like that and you know how strong-willed she is, you just don't give up," said Kathy.
And apparently neither does a little dog named Daizy.