Hope is fading for missing blind dog
A routine hike in the hills above Markleeville with his two dogs has turned into a frantic search effort by Mike Goodno for one of them that’s missing: Sunny, a blind 7-year-old chocolate Labrador once featured on the front page of this newspaper.
The dog has been missing since Tuesday afternoon. Its owners Karen Loomis and Mike Goodno of Christmas Valley have knocked on doors and put up notices around the Alpine County seat asking for help in locating the female dog they rescued from the El Dorado County animal shelter three years ago.
Goodno continued his search for Sunny on Wednesday and Thursday while Loomis made up posters to pin up throughout the Markleeville area, southeast of Lake Tahoe on Highway 89. The dog – a chocolate Labrador mix – was last seen on a hiking trail near Poor Boy Road.
“We’ve been hiking with her ever since we got her and she’s never disappeared. She’s always stayed right behind and never strays,” said Loomis, fighting back tears. “Mike is torn up about it. He feels very responsible. I keep thinking over and over what’s happened to her. … I’m hoping this will turn into one of those incredible journeys where she comes back home.”
The couple picked up Sunny three years ago after seeing the dog featured in the Tahoe Daily Tribune. Blind since birth, the dog has developed cataracts in her eyes and she bumps into walls now and then.
Still, Loomis said Sunny’s loss of vision is made up with her keen sense of hearing and smell. The couple’s other dog, Maggie, a yellow Labrador, acts like a sibling to Sunny and rarely strays from her.
“I was hoping she would track Sunny down but she stayed alongside with me,” Goodno said of Maggie.
Dr. Gail Clark, a Fort Collins, Colo.-based dog behaviorist, says domesticated dogs have been known to stay in the wilderness for up to a month before being found. Unfortunately in Sunny’s case, the blindness would keep her from running to a safe place to find shelter if she were to get into trouble.
“If a bear or cougar were to sneak up on her she wouldn’t have time to react,” Clark said.
Hope of finding Sunny is fading, Goodno said late Thursday. Still, he vows to continue to look for Sunny and hopes that someone will find her.
“It’s not looking good but you never know,” he said.
Sunny is a blind Chocolate Labrador mix, about 140 pounds, last seen along Poor Boy Road near Markleeville.
If you spot the dog, it responds to her name, Sunny. Call Mike Goodno or Karen Loomis at (530) 577-3928 or (530) 318-5967.
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When the Judicial & Law Enforcement Center was built 40 years ago, there were only 19,400 people living in Douglas County.