Local news story on woman who went to great lengths to rescue a stray

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Local news story on woman who went to great lengths to rescue a stray

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Old 02-07-2017, 05:09 PM
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Local news story on woman who went to great lengths to rescue a stray

After much effort, Springfield woman finally coaxes dog to come inside - News - The State Journal-Register - Springfield, IL

After much effort, Springfield woman finally coaxes dog to come inside
Posted Feb 5, 2017 at 9:37 PM Updated Feb 5, 2017 at 9:37 PM


Terri Pellman said it took six weeks of coaxing and patience before the stray dog she has named Sandy felt comfortable enough to let her get close. Ted Schurter/The State Journal-Register


By Jason Nevel
Staff Writer

Terri Pellman wasn't looking to add a fourth dog to her family, but she couldn't take it anymore.


For the past four years, she would drive past the field near Dirksen Parkway and North Grand Avenue and see the dog.


The stray was well known on the northeast side of Springfield, but nobody could ever get close enough to catch it.


Sangamon County Animal Control Center was contacted several times, but crews never had any luck, said Greg Largent, director of operations.


The rumor, mentioned in a State Journal-Register column about the dog in April, was the dog belonged to a homeless man who died and was unwilling to leave the spot where it happened.


A nearby resident, Gary Claybourn, and his family fed, provided water and built the dog a shelter. Even then, the dog kept her distance.


Nine weeks ago in mid-November, Pellman said, the sadness became too much.


Nearly every day, she went to the field, about 2 miles north of her home, and attempted to befriend the dog.


For the first month, the dog did what it always had - run away and hide in the nearby woods when anyone got close. But Pellman was persistent.
She would sit down in the field, no matter how cold it was, and gradually inch her way closer to the dog.


"Eventually she quit running away, but would not let me near her," she said.


Early last month, about five weeks into the endeavor, Pellman caught a break. A car zipped by and the dog got distracted. She got closer than ever before.


The next few times she went out, the dog let her get closer and eventually pet her, she said.


"It just got better and better to the point she would follow me," Pellman said. "I could pet her, but she still would never walk back with me."


On the morning of Jan. 11, Pellman headed to the field around 9 a.m. to check on the dog. The dog was there and she decided it was now or never. She grabbed the dog and carried it over to her truck.


"The dog never growled at me," Pellman said.


For living in a field for four years, Pellman said the dog, now 5 years old, was relatively healthy, outside of worms, fleas and being dirty. She also didn't take long to adjust to home life and other animals at the house.
She seemed to respond best to "Sandy," so that's the name they're sticking with.


"She's come around a lot," Pellman said. "It really is unbelievable."


Pellman said she also got an answer on the dog's back story because she was micro-chipped. She called the owner, who now lives in Bloomington. He told her he got the dog from the Animal Protective League and had it for three days before it got loose and he couldn't find her.


"Why she trusted me I have no idea," Pellman said.


Sandy's favorite spot is on the couch in the front room. She remains timid but lets strangers pet her. Pellman said she will continue to care for Sandy but is open to her being adopted by a new family.


"It would have to be under the right circumstances," she said. "I don't want her to go back to the field.
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