Travaglini and Massa snapped into action.
Grabbing a humane trap, Travaglini and Massa set it up in the Castergines’ backyard. Massa said the dog watched them from about 50 feet away, hidden by the shadows of trees and bushes.
But was it Bailey? Even they weren’t certain, since the puppy had grown so much in his 2½ months on the lam.
With bait from a local Burger King set inside the trap — a double cheeseburger and french fries — dusk settled. The team prepared for a long night. They trained Laura on how to use the humane trap, expecting the rescue to possibly take days.
Within minutes though, Bailey stepped inside the trap. But the door didn’t trigger; Bailey grabbed the fast food and escaped again.
Unwilling to give up, the team drove to Turner’s seafood in downtown Melrose, bought some fried haddock, and reset the trap.
This time, Bailey went in and the trap door shut as the puppy dined.
The search duo looked inside.
It was Bailey.
“Marianna and I cried, we felt so overjoyed,” Travaglini said, noting she had never met Bailey till that moment. “It was like chasing a ghost,” she said. “He just vanished. And then to actually see him?”
How the street pup survived is anyone’s guess, but Castergine thinks Bailey hid under a broken section of fence in the woods behind her house that acted as a lean-to and provided shelter during Hurricane Sandy.
Bailey’s grit impressed Castergine. But it was the volunteers’ own doggedness to find Bailey that moved her.
“What struck me is how passionate these volunteers were. I would’ve given up, but they cared so much,” she said. “That’s what amazed me. Within 20 minutes, they had me engaged.”
Bailey’s rescue has had a ripple effect. Since sharing this unique experience, Travaglini and Massa have since become good friends. Travaglini said she’s bonded with a core group from Northeast Animal Shelter who do searches regularly: Nora Cook of Everett; Susan Parziale, Gail Gilmore, and Donna Gately, all of Medford; and Kevin Kelly of Winchester, all unpaid volunteers, fueled by the tremendous feeling of making a family whole again.
Currently searching for Marisol, a Medford dog lost just over two years ago near the Middlesex Fells Reservation, Travaglini said recent sightings in Woburn give them hope.
As for Bailey, the Saugus family was not allowed to adopt him because of their unfenced yard. So he’s back in foster care, still waiting to find his forever home.
Kathy Shiels Tully can be reached at kathyshielstully@- gmail.com.