The Dougherty family pet Roscoe recently went missing for 12 hours and returned under suspicious circumstances. (Photos by Lori Rudder Dougherty)
He lives a peaceful life. Thirteen-year-old Roscoe is part of the Lori and Dan Dougherty family. He was a rescue golden retriever from GRRAND (Golden Retriever Rescue and Adoption of Needy Dogs) when he was 5 years old. He is a big, happy dog with a perennial grin and a bouncy name.
Not only are the Dougherty family’s lives blessed with the ownership of Kentucky Derby and Preakness runner Ride On Curlin at the track, their lives include several off-the-track Thoroughbreds in their backyard and the rambunctious love of two 5-month-old Golden Retriever puppies and an 11-year-old Golden Retriever (Chloe, Hudson and Sammy).
ROSCOE RELAXES AT HOME
It’s been a crazy and full schedule for the Doughertys since the Kentucky Derby on the first Saturday in May and the Preakness on May 17. They have become extremely close with the California Chrome connections and refer to themselves as the “1-2 Team.” Lori said: “the Chromes and the ROCs [Ride On Curlins] have a great time together.”
Home from the Preakness on Sunday, despite being exhausted, Lori has managed to ship out 75 packages of ROC hats, T-shirts and pins to support Ride On Curlin’s growing fan base. There are plans to be made for taking the ROC connections to Elmont, N.Y. for the Belmont Stakes. So Monday morning, it was back to a “normal” life for the family except that Lori woke up with a very strange premonition.
She told Dan that she had a “horrible dream” and she had a feeling something was going to happen with Roscoe that day. Roscoe had gone outside, as he usually does each morning, where he has five acres to wander. Only once before has he left the home, the day of the Arkansas Derby when he disappeared from their dog sitter. He was returned later in the day after being identified at a local vet through his microchip.
He went outside at 8:30 a.m. and Lori started searching for him at 8:50 a.m. by calling neighbors because she could sense something was wrong. She launched a search, driving around the neighborhood. By afternoon, she had friends and family looking for him on Gators (a utility vehicle produced by John Deere). She called the local veterinarians and the Humane Society. Several years ago Lori’s adorable little black pig, Lilly, was stolen, and Lori was desperate to find Roscoe.
Roscoe is a very cool dog – tall like an Irish Setter and totally devoted to Dan Dougherty.
“They are buddies,” Lori said.
Several years ago, he developed a “hot spot” about the size of a silver dollar on his hip that developed a hematoma. The wound has never healed despite many expensive attempts, vet treatments, surgery and various medicines. Roscoe is a master at removing stitches. He even wore a “helmet” for a year and was affectionately known as “helmet head.” Dermatologists were consulted and the vet bills were extensive as the Doughertys have tried every known treatment for Roscoe.
ROSCOE'S MYSTERIOUS WOUND
Lori and her daughter Cookie returned home at 8 p.m., exhausted and hoarse from searching and yelling Roscoe’s name all day long. Shortly afterward, Dan and daughter Alex pulled up in the driveway and were shocked to see Roscoe standing in the driveway. They brought him in and realized that Roscoe was recovering from surgery. He was shaved and has an arc of fresh stitches on his swollen hip. His paw is shaved where there might have been an IV. In addition, his nails had been trimmed. He was wearing his collar.
On Tuesday morning, Lori took Roscoe to his regular vet. He has been placed on antibiotics and was given pain medications and laser therapy. Poor Roscoe was shaking and was still in shock.
Mystery surrounds the circumstances of Roscoe's temporary disappearance. Where was Roscoe? Who did the surgery? How was he returned to his home? The good news is that he is home where he is loved and he quickly sacked out sleeping with Dan in the office. No doubt this has been a rollercoaster ride for Dan and Lori from the intensity of the Kentucky Derby to the thrill of the Preakness to the desperation of searching for their beloved dog. Whether the mystery is solved or not, they are thrilled that Roscoe is home.