PORT ORCHARD — Juliua Stroup has been reuniting lost dogs with their owners for only two months, but she’s already lost count of the number of reunions she’s done.
There was Brewster, a dog from Gig Harbor missing since June 15. Stroup found him in Port Orchard Friday. A chihuahua-mix found in Belfair that was reunited with its East Bremerton owner last week. A Port Orchard bulldog at the animal shelter Stroup delivered to its owner.
But if she were to see the dogs once again, she’d remember each story.
“When I’m done with one, I just move on to the next,” said the 50-year-old Port Orchard resident.
Stroup keeps track of lost dogs in the county by spending 8 to 10 hours everyday working toward rescue efforts. That means spending hours on the internet, comparing found postings to lost dog ads to match dog and owner.
Her efforts are being honored Sunday by PAWS of Bainbridge Island and North Kitsap at the annual dog-celebration event, WagFest.
A retired information technology specialist at Keyport, Stroup said she got involved in reuniting dogs and their owners in early July after noticing an increase in the number lost pet ads after the 4th of July holiday.
“I was just going to help a little, but then I got pulled in,” Stroup recalled during a phone interview from her Port Orchard home.
Stroup was recently involved in a reunion between two Boxer dogs and their Port Ludlow owners.
The dogs had escaped from the Viking Kennels in Poulsbo while David and Maisie Wheatley and their family went on vacation in July.
The problem was made worse when Viking Kennels staff revealed the dogs, Zsa Zsa and Bell, had been missing about a week before the family returned.
Stroup and a team of volunteers went into rescue mode, scouring the internet and making phone calls and visiting area animal shelters on a daily basis.
It also was the first time Stroup herself physically walked and searched an area for a missing dog, despite still recovering from hip surgery at the time.
Zsa Zsa was found 11 days later while Bell was found 21 days later.
Callers noticed Zsa Zsa darting in and out of traffic near
Gunderson and Stottlemeyer Roads and Bell was found hiding in a
wooded area near Lincoln and Widme Roads. Other than dehydration
and a few cuts and scraps, the two dogs were in good shape, Stroup
She calls Zsa Zsa and Bell her godchildren now.
The best part of reuniting owners with their dogs is being part of the emotional reunion, Stroup said.
Reunited dogs with their owners is just one of the ways Stroup gives back to her community.
After leaving her job at Keyport a few years ago, Stroup started collecting wood from various sources to give to the poor.
The 50 year old also volunteers for equine non-profits around the county, using her trailer to transport horses from one location to another.
“People need to know you don’t need to do something really huge to help,” she said. “You just have to be a bit inconvenienced. You don’t have o have a lot of money, but just put in the effort.”
She’ll be attending Sunday’s Wagfest with the Wheatleys and her four-legged godchildren.
Photo: Maisie Wheatley of Port Ludlow with Zsa