Ralphie is home!

November 3, 2014

RalphieBy Allison Scarbrough. OCP Editor.

NEW ERA — The chocolate lab that had been missing since Saturday afternoon is now home safe and sound with his family, his owner Stephanie Matiash reported Monday evening.

The people who took Ralphie did not steal him, she said. “It was good people who had him and returned him upon finding out we were looking for him.”

Matiash contacted OCP Sunday night, asking for help to spread the word that her family’s beloved pet was missing. He was last seen at the New Era Wesco. In less than 24 hours, Ralphie’s post on OCP generated 310 shares and nearly 20,000 views.

“I got a call late afternoon from a local vet, neighbor and friend who said ‘I have Ralphie,’” Matiash stated in a Facebook message to OCP. “Apparently, a man brought him to (the vet) — after seeing the (OCP) post. He stressed they did not steal him.”

According to Matiash, Ralphie followed her daughters to Wesco. “I went down to get him, and he was gone.” The Oceana County Sheriff’s Office was notified, and a gray-haired woman in a black minivan was seen on the store’s surveillance cameras taking Ralphie, she said.

Matiash said the man who turned the dog over to the vet’s office stated that Ralphie was at Wesco for 45 minutes. “Well, he wasn’t there but for 10-15 (minutes), and the girls said he was their dog, so I’m not sure how that all plays out. Eventually, I will try to piece this all together, but most importantly he is home with us.”

Ralphie, a 4 ½-year-old chocolate lab mix, was not wearing a collar at the time he came up missing. Matiash said he was not wearing a collar because he had been swimming in his family’s pond.