Latest News

Search is on for missing seizure-alert dog

When Bridget Spangler and her fiance crossed the West Virginia line from Pennsylvania on Saturday afternoon, they thought they were just passing through.  

Plans changed when Spangler’s fiance suddenly lost consciousness behind the wheel, subsequently crashing the vehicle.  

frightened from the accident, Spangler’s dog, Heidi, got out of the vehicle and ran off.  As of Monday evening, she still had not been found.

Heidi is no ordinary dog, Spangler said.  She performs a very important service for Spangler – she detects seizures.

Spangler and Heidi are from Colorado and are not familiar with the area.

“Heidi is running scared right now and it’s a crappy situation because she is so far from home,” Spangler said.

Spangler said she got Heidi when she was a 1-year-old.  At that time, she wasn’t trained as a seizure dog.

“I had a grand mal seizure and she alerted to me and she actually got my daughter, Casey,” Spangler said.

“Heidi twice has saved my life when I was laying on the floor having grand mal seizures and unconscious.  So I will go to the ends of the ends of the earth for this dog – she deserves it, you know.”

Since the accident on Saturday, local residents have been helping search for the lost German shepherd/deerhound mix, who is thought to have been spotted on homeowners’ cameras a mile to a mile and a half from the crash site.

Saturday evening Heidi was captured on camera eating cat food from a porch and was thought to be seen on Sunday near Seghi’s 5 Lakes fishing camp.

Jenny Thorne, a local resident and animal lover helping in the search, said they are focusing the search around the state line between Gans, Pa., Lake Lynn, Pa., and the Morgan Run Road area in Cheat Lake.

“Right now we are confused about where she is staying at,” Thorne said.  “Could she be over around the Morgan Run area or on the Pennsylvania side?”

Anyone with search-and-rescue experience or people who are very familiar with that area and have 4-wheelers or side-by-side ATVs are asked to join the search, Thorne said.

At the time of the accident, Heidi was wearing a purple collar with two white reflective strips.  Her collar will also have Larimer County, Colo., rabies tag.  She is also microchipped. 

Spangler said Heidi is friendly but is afraid and may run.  She does know all basic commands like sit and lay down.   

Heidi, or “Heidi girl,” as Spangler sometimes calls her, is smaller than a typical German shepherd and closer to 60-65 pounds.  She has the black saddleback of the German shepherd and has a white chest and underbelly. 

Spangler said Heidi is spayed and has a spayed tattoo on her belly.  Her tail isn’t completely straight, it’s kind of crooked and curls over her back.

Spangler said there are several tricks that may get Heidi to come around if she is spotted.

“She really loves laser lights,” Spangler said.  “A laser light would get her without any problems at all.” 

A cage or crate may also be an easy way to catch her as she sees them as a safe space.

“She has a dog cage at home that she is free to come in and out of and it’s her space when she doesn’t want bothered,” Spangler said.  “Her crate is her safety zone, so she would absolutely go into a crate without a problem.”

She’ll also go for people food before she would take dog food or dog treats, Spangler said.  “Unfortunately my fiance kind of spoiled her on that end.”

Heidi loves other dogs and will likely come up to anyone with another dog.

In addition to helping find Heidi, Thorne said locals are trying to help Spangler and her fiance stay in the area to help search.  

“We are trying to get money for the family to be able to stay closer to Morgantown towards the Cheat Lake area,” Thorne said.

A GoFundMe page, was set up to help with meals and accomodations.

Anyone with information about possible Heidi sightings or who would like to join the search can contact the Morgantown Lost and Found Pets Facebook page, who are assisting with the search. 

If you think you have found Heidi, Spangler asks you to take her to the nearest veterinary clinic or rescue and have her microchip scanned, which will come back with her contact information.

“This is a service dog that performs a very important service for me,” Spangler said.  “It’s not like she’s just a pet, she’s a step above that, and it’s a crappy situation that she got loose from the accident.”