KC Star wrote:NEW YORK — The Flushing district in Queens was one big dog trap earlier this week.
Whole roasted chickens had been left out as bait. A greyhound named Hubbard sauntered around Kessima Park, offering companionship. An 83-year-old Italian man strolled with his belt in his hands, ready to lasso if necessary.
Few mysteries have captivated New Yorkers like the case of the champion whippet who, after winning a prize at the Westminster Dog Show, got loose at John F. Kennedy International Airport five weeks ago and raced into the city.
The search for Vivi — full name, Champion Bohem C’est La Vie — has drawn in the Port Authority police force, scores of ardent dog lovers, multiple psychics, and an Oklahoma pet detective who, when called about Vivi, turned down a job searching for B.B. King’s dog.
Vivi has begun to make appearances in Flushing, nine miles north of the airport, each one more tantalizing than the last.
At 3:45 a.m. Wednesday, a man was walking his Doberman Pinscher outside Flushing Cemetery when a whippet came to the cemetery fence and briefly touched noses with the Doberman before vanishing into the dark.
Searchers raced around Flushing all day. The dog’s co-owner, Jil Walton, had flown in from California and was walking the woods, trying to spread her scent. The suspense became unbearable.
“It’s like alcoholism,” said Bobbi Giordano, an animal rescue worker from Queens. “You just have to find out where, when, why. It’s an obsession now. I don’t think it has to do with the breed, or that it’s a famous dog or anything. I don’t even think it’s the money anymore. I think it’s just the love.”
Vivi has been sighted more than a dozen times since she bolted from her crate, said Bonnie Folz, who has been coordinating the volunteer search. Vivi initially roamed long distances every day but has begun to “tighten her boundaries,” said Karin Goin, a pet detective from Oklahoma who traced Vivi’s movements with tracking dogs.
“Vivi is considered a dog at-large living off her wits,” said Goin, who followed the trail through garbage piles and onto porches where people were feeding outdoor cats.
The dog crossed areas where pit bulls were tied up, Goin said — another in a series of traumas that have left her more skittish than usual.
“She’s displaced and has no bonds to anybody here,” Goin said. “I’ve lived in cities, and I can assure you New York was very different to me, and I’m a human.”
The dog’s disappearance prompted an extraordinary response, richly documented on “Vivi Watch,” a Newsday blog. Sightings are confirmed when the caller can identify markings that are not widely known.
Among the more than 100 volunteer searchers is Rosa Chile, 56, a retired bus driver who is undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer. Chile begins searching at 6:30 every morning, stopping to take her pills, and continues to search in four shifts until 2 or 3 a.m.
“We have no life,” Chile said. “We’re never home. I don’t clean the house anymore.”
Over the last week, Vivi has been sighted more than five times in Flushing.
A teenage girl called last Friday to say that she was walking behind the dog.
The same day, the whippet rushed up to a 12-year-old girl in her backyard, seemed to bow, and then ran away.
On Sunday, a man fed the whippet pieces of bread through the cemetery fence, Folz said. He tried to grab her and she bolted.
On Wednesday, after the 3:45 a.m. report, there were two more reported sightings nearby, the most recent at 6:30 p.m.
Posters advertise a $5,000 reward, which has brought another wave of searchers.
Among them is Vinny Chieffo, a cake delivery man, who has been scanning wooded areas after his shift ends at 3:30 a.m.
“I mean, I like dogs. I’d really like to see this person get her dog back,” said Chieffo, 48. “But I really need the money.”
Am I reading the story right that the dog WANTS to run away from its owner?