This Thanksgiving a Tolland family is extra thankful for their dog.
When ten-year-old Liut, a chocolate lab named for Hartford Whalers hockey goalie Mike Liut, left home in Tolland, he was as gone as the Whalers.
“It was tough him being gone that long,” said his owner, Jason Marcroft, “but the response around town was just unbelievable.”
For nine days, townspeople in Tolland responded to the missing dog notices posted on the internet and around town. Sightings reported almost every day from people the Marcrofts didn't know are why they're thankful this Thanksgiving.
“We were getting text messages and Facebook messages and phone calls from people we never met before saying, ‘I drove around for an hour, didn't see him, good luck, we're rooting for you,’ it was really unbelievable, the response.
The one thing they were worried about was that Liut would get hit by a car, and sure enough, on Tuesday police actually chased him off I-84. But later that day, he turned up at Tolland Middle School.
“And a bunch of bus drivers chased him into the woods and had him kinda pinned,” Marcroft said, “and my brother and sister kinda cornered him and tackled him and got a leash on him and brought him home.”
Liut was heavy with ticks and lighter by ten pounds after his days in the wild, but the veterinarian checked him out and after a couple of days of sleep, he’s back in form.
As for the Marcrofts, they’ve learned the truth of the old saying: there are no strangers, just people you haven't met yet.
“There's a lot going on in the world so for people to pay that much attention to a stranger's dog was just not something we expected. We really didn't think it would be that big a deal to so many people. It was important to us but we didn't think it would be important to everyone else as well,” said Marcroft.