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Doggone Good Ending: Mini Happy To Be Home
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The moment Lucy Garcia, right, had been waiting for finally took place when Kay Martinelli handed over Garcias lost dog, Mini; the dog and owner were reunited after three months apart. - photo by Autumn Neal/The Leader

Mini has been reunited with her owner, Oakdale resident Lucy Garcia.

The local ‘feel good’ story came to a tail-wagging conclusion on Friday, July 7 after pet and owner spent three months apart, the reunion thanks largely to the work of Kay Martinelli.

Martinelli, a freelance rescuer, was contacted on Thursday, July 6 about a dog found off of Orange Blossom – quite a distance from Garcia’s in-town residence. The found dog ended up being none other than Garcia’s lost pet, Mini. Martinelli was able to use her scanner to locate the microchip in Mini and a few phone calls later, the two women got into contact with one another.

“She called me Thursday night at ten o’clock crying.” Martinelli said of Garcia, “I said ‘I didn’t take your girl, but I have your girl, and she’s safe.’”

At 1:15 p.m. the next day, Mini was returned home. The reunion was full of wagging tails, dog kisses, and grateful sentiments from both parties. Garcia thanked Martinelli for bringing Mini home, while Martinelli was pleased that Mini had been chipped, with all her owner information on file.

“She’d have never come home had she not been chipped,” Martinelli reasoned.

Mini, a 10-year-old, had been rescued by her family from the Stanislaus County Animal Shelter and then chipped. Such a precaution was ultimately the reason she’d been brought back to her family.

Martinelli also has suspicions that Mini – since she had been gone for three months – had initially been taken in by someone else, but then bolted over the holiday. With the amount of fireworks set off on and around July 4, it apparently was enough to bring Mini out into the open once again. This time, she was lucky enough to have rescuers find her.

“I’m very happy ... this is the only dog I have,” Garcia said with a content Mini in her arms.

This is not the first reunion Martinelli has been a part of and it will certainly not be the last. She mostly takes abandoned dogs in and tries her best to find them a new home and family.

“I’ve picked up dogs and within 15 minutes, have them homed,” Martinelli explained.

Whether the dogs are chipped and brought back to their family, or abandoned and ultimately placed in a home, Martinelli and other rescuers work together to keep dogs out of local shelters.

The process is different for every dog. Martinelli may pick up dogs from shelters that are at risk to be euthanized; she could get a call from people who know what she does, reporting that they’ve found a dog for her; or she may not even get an in-person meeting with the dog before finding an owner.

“I home a lot of dogs that I never even see. Just social networking,” Martinelli said. “Someone hands me a picture and I’ll see what I can do. I share them and somebody contacts me and that’s it.”

She and other local rescuers have sent dogs to Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York to find forever homes, though they mostly operate within the local community. Such a community is valuable for local workers not only because they can be contacted easily, but because locals often sponsor a spay or neuter of a dog.

“People are very gracious,” she praised.


When all is said and done, Mini’s story is a perfect example of the point that Martinelli stresses the most: “If you love your dog, get them chipped.”