Zeus, the Bridgeport dog missing for a month, found in Shelton

Photo of Brian Gioiele
Shelton Police helped reunite Zeus, a 2-year-old French Bulldog — who had been missing for nearly a month — with his owners last week. 

Shelton Police helped reunite Zeus, a 2-year-old French Bulldog — who had been missing for nearly a month — with his owners last week. 

Contributed photo

SHELTON — Renee Horton remembers the anxiety that overcame her as she waited at Shelton Police Headquarters Nov. 9. 

It was hours before that the Bridgeport resident received a tip that her lost dog, 2-year-old Zeus, a French Bulldog — who had been missing for nearly a month — was at a home in Shelton. 

Now, as Shelton police and Chief Animal Control Officer Michelle DeAngelo went to the scene, she waited … not knowing if this would be the answer to her prayers or just another in what had been a litany of wild goose chases and continued heartbreak. 

“I was waiting outside … I saw (DeAngelo) walk out with Zeus,” Horton said, her voice cracking as she described the long-awaited reunion. “I just ran out and held (Zeus). It was the happiest feeling in the world. I knew all along the chances were not great (finding Zeus), but we never gave up.” 

Zeus went missing Oct. 10 when he slipped through a fence gate that had been accidentally left open. When the family could not immediately find him Horton and her husband, Jesus, jumped into action, posting 400 fliers throughout the area, contacting the CT Dog Gone Recovery network, and taking to social media. 

It was this resilience and a $5,000 reward, Horton said, along with the microchip embedded in the dog that led to the reunion. 

“We did everything we could to get the word out,” Horton said. 

She said she received dozens of reports of sightings, none of which could be confirmed,  and all of which left her struggling to keep hope alive. 

“We tried hard to stay hopeful,” Horton said. “It was hard. We just kept wondering how Zeus was doing. Was he roaming all alone? Was he OK? We just didn’t know, and it hurt so much not knowing.” 

It all came to a head Nov. 9 — nearly one month to the day Zeus had slipped through that open gate. Horton said she received a call about 5 p.m. from a woman claiming to know Zeus’ location. 

“I’ve had so many of these calls, so I asked that she send me a picture,” Horton said. “I immediately saw the pic she sent, and I knew. It was him.” 

Horton then went to the Shelton Police Department, told them what she had been told, including the location of Zeus. Shelton Police Lt. Robert Kozlowsky said officers were dispatched, along with DeAngelo, to the house. 

“I was following the police, as we got to the area of the home, I said a prayer,” DeAngelo said. “The police were concerned that the people would not open the door, but they did, and they were cooperative.” 

When there, the resident opened the door and presented the dog, at which point DeAngelo scanned the microchip and confirmed the dog was Zeus. For the Hortons, it was time to celebrate having their family member home. 

Kozlowsky said the resident said she was driving one day and saw the dog, never knowing that its owners were feverishly looking to bring him home. Kozlowsky said no charges were filed in the case.

“It was a good day," said DeAngelo, a 26-year veteran of the animal control office.

DeAngelo said a key — besides the Hortons refusal to stop searching — was the microchip in Zeus. And she says that pet owners should invest in the chip that can help to reunite pets with their owners. Veterinarians and shelters always scan for chips when animals are brought in. 

DeAngelo said another key is not just embedding the chip but registering it. 

"I urge everyone to get the microchips,” DeAngelo said. “It is definitely important.” 

She recalled one instance when a stray dog was brought into the shelter and after scanning the chip, they learned that the dog belonged to an owner in Guilford. How the dog got to the Shelton area, she said, no one knows for sure. 

DeAngelo said owners should also never leave their pets unattended in their yard, as they can become targets of wildlife and people looking to steal them. She said she feels that many of the dogs reported lost are actually taken from yards, particularly the smaller dogs. 

“We get a lot of animals each week,” said DeAngelo, adding that most go home the same day before saying many of those other lost dogs are not reunited with their owners. “If your dog goes missing, report it to us. Report it to the police. Share on social media, and do it all as soon as you possibly can. It always helps to get the word out.”