Ike spurs dog’s amazing journey
Cindy and Michael Chataignier moved to Bridge City in 1996 as part of Michael’s work with the Federal Prison System.
He still works in one of the Beaumont prison units.
The couple lived in the Dugas Subdivision raising a daughter, and one day heard about six abandoned puppies on Bailey Road.
They took all six home and eventually gave away four.
The two remaining dogs were a lab they named Blackie and his big sister Missy, who would eventually grow to 120 pounds.
The Chataigniers don’t exactly know what kind of dog Missy is. They simply call her “ … a big black and white dog with a lot of hair.”
When Hurricane Ike’s waters started to rise, Michael began moving the family to safety, but couldn’t get his truck back to where the dogs were.
When the family found them later, Missy and Blackie had made it to a small patch of high ground and were fine. That was the good news, as the Chataignier’s house was destroyed.
“We lost everything,” Cindy says. “And now, Missy is scared to death of bad weather. I’m sure she has a right to be after what she went through.”
The family bought a new home and moved to Nederland.
“A couple of weeks ago there was a bad thunderstorm,” Cindy says. “We got home and Missy wasn’t there. We have a six-foot wood fence in our backyard. She ate a hole through that to get out, and just took off. We looked all over and we couldn’t find her. We put signs up and made phone calls.”
The family also noticed a change in Blackie’s behavior.
“She was very unhappy,” Cindy says. “She had never been without Missy.”
In addition to the signs and phone calls, Michael put a missing dog announcement with a description of Missy on a local Web site.
Later they got a call from Kim Smith in Bridge City.
Smith lived in that same area, Bailey Road, where the puppies were originally found.
Cindy began talking with Smith, who told her, “This might be your dog, but I don’t think so. I don’t think she’s 120 pounds.”
“Still, we had to check it out,” Cindy says. “We got out there and a little black and white head popped up. And sure enough – it was her.”
Missy had lost some weight and was dehydrated. It had been about a week since the search began. Only Missy knows which bridge (Rainbow or Veterans Memorial) she took to get from Nederland to Bridge City.
“She looked so little,” Cindy says. “She couldn’t even walk. All she did was just lay down. She drank a lot but never could get up. It took a few days to get her back to semi-normal. I didn’t know the lady who called, never met her in my life. I’m so thankful she called, especially after she didn’t think it was possible – with the dog having walked some 20 miles.”
The family added new fence guards and brings the dogs inside the house during storms now.
Cindy adds, “We’re just blessed to have her back. We’ve all been through so much.”