Dreidel the pint-sized Shih Tzu is back with his family after apparently fending for himself for two weeks in the woods off Plymouth Street.

Dreidel the pint-sized Shih Tzu is back with his family after apparently fending for himself for two weeks in the woods off Plymouth Street.

“He must be a tough little guy to have survived alone in the woods for so long,” said Bridgewater-Raynham Sand & Stone Office Manager Nancy Ziomek, who helped return Dreidel to his owner.

“I am speechless. I cannot believe this dog roamed around for two weeks,” said Donna Babchuck, who was dog-sitting the 8-month-old puppy for a relative when he disappeared from the Satucket Trail area on Wednesday, Aug. 20.

Babchuck said she and her family never stopped looking for the lovable little "mop top,” but she was losing hope of finding him alive and well.

“To the day I die, I’ll never imagine what he went through. It’s his little secret,” Babchuck said.

Dreidel turned up about a mile from Babchuck’s house, still dragging his leash along behind him, at the sand and gravel pit off Route 104 on the morning of Wednesday, Sept. 3, the apparent beneficiary of a combination of luck and pluck.

Dreidel’s owner, Sherry Rosen of Chestnut Hill, said her buddy is a cuddly little homebody who likes nothing better than a good meal and a long nap.

Yet as far as anyone knows, he was able to survive for a fortnight alone in a wooded area inhabited by foxes and coyotes, Ziomek said, on little more than rainwater and determination. When he finally turned up, he had lost a lot of weight and was covered in leaves and ticks. His fur was so dirty, you couldn’t see his white patches, Ziomek said.

But he hadn’t lost his zest for life.

An equipment operator spotted Dreidel and chased after him. But Dreidel got spooked once again and tried to run back into the woods. The man was finally able to catch him by stepping on his leash.

Ziomek, who brings her lhasa-poo to work every day, said the first thing Dreidel did was gobble up three big bowls of dog food. When his tummy was finally full, he was ready for a nice long snooze.

“He just cuddled next to me all day,” Ziomek said.

Ziomek said she was determined to do what she could to reunite him with his family. When she was unable to reach the town’s animal control officer, she called the Bridgewater Veterinary Clinic on Route 18, where she brings her own dogs.

The nurse said, “Nancy, you’re not going to believe this. There was an article about a missing dog,” Ziomek recalled.

The nurse had clipped the article from the Independent on Dreidel’s disappearance. Her suspicions were confirmed when the veterinarian scanned his identification microchip.

Dreidel underwent a thorough physical and seemed to have sustained no lasting damage from his travels. The vet cleaned his ears, gave him an IV to rehydrate him and, of course, more food and water.

“When I went down to pick him up, he was so happy. His tail was wagging. He was kissing everyone. This dog did not seem traumatized at all,” Babchuck said.

Babchuck said Dreidel got the royal treatment that night. She even bent her strict no-dogs-on-the-furniture rule. She had set up a makeshift bed for Dreidel on the floor alongside hers, but he kept crying and looking at her with sad eyes until finally she relented.

“He didn’t want to be alone. I felt bad for him after what he’d been through,” Babchuck said. “I said, ‘Alright, you can sleep up here, but be a good boy,’ and he was out like a light.”

Rosen was reunited with her buddy Saturday. She’d only been his owner for two months when he disappeared, but he’d already stolen her heart, she said.

“He’s unbelievable. He’s very affectionate and energetic and he’s got a very cute face,” Rosen said.

She said he’s definitely not the outdoorsy type, so she’s proud of him for managing so well.

“He enjoys being home,” Rosen said.

Bridgewater Independent