Losing A Pet
Losing a pet can be one of the most traumatizing experiences a family can go through, and much of the time, it’s not a warm and fuzzy ending. For one man, Bill Ballato, this nightmare was about to become his reality when his beloved Bosco, went missing.
Ballato searched for Bosco for nearly two whole years, enlisting the help of anyone willing to search for his best friend. Strangers and friends alike embarked on a quest to find lost Bosco, but Ballato was concerned that even if they were reunited, his pup wouldn’t recognize him. With a heavy heart, the search continued.
Bill and Bosco lived inWesterley, Rhode Island for many years together, enjoying the simple life. Bosco is a nine-year-old Beagle mix, who was known and loved by many in his neighborhood, much like Bill. Life was great until one day, Bosco vanished.
Witnessing the pure devastation that overcame Bill when Bosco went missing, neighbors were eager to help search for the pup. Although they searched, poor Bosco was nowhere to be found. Somehow, Bosco had gotten free from his leash and color and headed straight for the hole in the fence.
Bill and his neighbors searched frantically for the dog, plastering “missing dog” posters all around town. They even talked to police and local animal shelters in hopes that Bosco would turn up, but in the end, nothing came of it. Bill and Bosco were still separated, and no one knew what to do next.
A Moving Man
A couple months after Bosco’s disappearance, Bill was forced to move to Colorado and his hope of finding Bosco before then quickly dwindled. When he moved, it was as if he left half his heart in Rhode Island, but he had no choice. Still, friends back home didn’t give up and continued to search for Bosco. Just when everything seemed dull, they spotted Bosco.
Playing Hard To Get
Although Bosco had been spotted, no one was able to catch him. It was clear that Bosco was wandering the streets, and with Winter approaching, Bill was getting nervous. He knew he had to find Bosco, and fast.
Harsh Winter Ahead
That Winter, Rhode Island was hit with three massive snow storms, and Bill knew Bosco’s fate was iffy at best. Every night he would wonder about Bosco and if he was okay,“There were nights, horrible nights that I wondered, especially after big storms,” he told Fox 31. Still, Bill kept the hope they’d be reunited, “But something told me that he’d make it.”
It was two years before Bill received a message from a local Rhode Island cop who had seen Bosco. Realizing that he now had a better chance than ever of finding his beloved pup, he sought out help from an expert. After all, he was too far away.
Sheila Graham works at the Department of Homeland Security and is a pet detective on her spare time, making her the perfect person to help Bill and Bosco. When Bill reached out, Shelia was ready to help. But first, she knew she needed some cameras and bait if she was ever going to reunite the two.
Luckily, Bosco loves burgers…
A Game of Chess
Bosco had been on the street for two years, so he had learned tricks that helped him stay alive. One of those tricks was avoiding necessary danger, which made it harder to catch him. “Bosco played a good game of chess,” she said. “But I love chess, so it’s just a matter of narrowing down his playing field”, she told Fox 31.
So she set the bait and all she had to do was wait. But what happened, even surprised her.
Using a cheeseburger and fries, Shelia was able to catch Bosco in a metal trap. By this time, it was March 2016 and Bill was about to receive a phone call that he had been waiting for, for a long time. Shelia was anticipating his joyous reaction and called him the minute she got home.
Once Bosco heard Bill’s voice, the unexpected happened! Everyone was in shock.
A Familiar Voice
As soon as Bill’s voice was heard over the phone, Shelia was suddenly interrupted. As soon as Bosco heard Bill’s voice, he started to howl,“He doesn’t have a bark or howl or growl. It’s kind of all three together. You hear it and it stands you up straight,” he told The Dodo.
But now, they still needed to be reunited, and it wasn’t going to be easy.
Getting Bosco Home
It wasn’t going to be easy reunited Bosco and Bill, because they were still 2,000 miles apart. It was going to cost money to reunite the two, and Bill wouldn’t do it on his own. That’s when old friends, neighbors, and even strangers jumped in to help. What the community did for Bill still warms everyone’s hearts.
They started a crowd-funding campaign that quickly reached the goal, allowing these two to be reunited. Their reunion made headlines–and for good reason!
Bill’s childhood friend, Bob Arnold, said, “People that I haven’t heard from in 30 years bellied up money,” proving that humanity is still thriving. Shelia decided to take two friends with her on the long 36-hour journey from Rhode Island to Colorado.
When they got there, they were greeted with surprise.
Bill, overcome with excitement, was still scared his Bosco wouldn’t react well to him. Nervously waiting, he suddenly see’s the car approach. This is the moment they had all been waiting a long time for, and it was time to see how Bosco felt.
Bosco’s reaction is one for the books…
“The first couple of minutes, with everyone around and the cameras, he was like, ‘OK, who the hell is this guy?” said Bill when asked about their reunion. But then, Bill remembered a nickname he used to call Bosco, “dude”. The moment he called Bosco by his nickname, the pup perked up and knew he was home!
After the initial excitement fades, the real question hit his mind– was he healthy?
Bill knew that his beloved pup had been on the streets for two years so the first thing he needed to do was take him to the vet. It turns out, Bosco actually gained weight on his adventures, proving he became a good scavenger. Although he had a small benign tumor on his back, it was nothing life-threatening and was removed.
A Happy Ending
“I’m going to be having some good face time with him,” Bill told interviewers. Shelia bosts that her payday comes when she witnesses the reunion between pets and owners. One thing is for sure–the world is a better place with Shelia Graham.