VISTA — SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- Jorge Cartagena lives in a Vista retirement community, a neighborhood usually quiet until one sighting caught the attention of its senior residents a couple of weeks ago.
"My neighbor called and said, 'There's a black dog' and it was pouring rain, so I wanted to catch him, but it was easier to catch a chicken than that dog," Cartagena remembered.
For three days straight, neighbors would gather with the same mission -- to catch the dog and keep it safe, and more importantly, find out who it belonged to.
"Everyone started getting to know there was a dog. I even got a net, and I was so close to catching him and the trash man came in the morning and scared him. I was so close," said Cartagena.
Neighbors even used food to lure it close and used their own dogs to set it at ease.
"He was making friends with my dog, but the dog wouldn't let me grab him, every time I tried to catch him, he'd run away,” Cartagena said.
It was eventually a bit of chicken enough to coax the shy pup inside long enough for someone to shut the door.
"Finally, someone told me he was spending the night in their yard. I gave chicken and I said, 'When he's in the house, shut the door,' and that's how we got him,” according to Cartagena.
The next day, a neighbor spotted a missing dog post on a neighborhood app and the face was all too familiar.
"I'll never forget getting that call at 8:01 in the morning," said Jennifer Young.
It turned out her foster dog, Dana, had escaped more than two weeks earlier and turned up 25 miles from home.
Now, Cartagena and neighbors said they're hoping to adopt Dana. They said in a difficult time during the pandemic it was her who brought them a stint of excitement, friendship and a story they'll never forget.
"I've been here for a year in this area and I got to meet all my neighbors because of the dog,” said Cartagena.