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Positively San Diego: Family reunites with dog missing for over a month

Posted at 6:27 PM, Mar 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-03 21:27:25-05

VALLEY CENTER, Calif. (KGTV) - A San Marcos family is reunited with their dog after it was missing for over a month in Valley Center.

Penny is a one-and-a-half-year-old Vizla. Her parents are both essential workers. Mandy Colafrancesco is an ER nurse and Mike Colafrancesco is a fire captain.

The family decided to take a vacation and while on their trip they got a call about Penny.

Penny was lost, she had escaped from the boarding facility where she was staying while the family was gone. Desperate, the family called Babs Fry, a local woman who's helped hundreds of local families reunite with their pets.

Fry immediately got to work, following leads, putting up fliers, and then setting up cameras and a trap. To lure Penny in, Fry put a blanket of the family's other dog, Truman.

Fry told the family to stop looking for the dog, explaining that it would spread their scent and confuse the dog.

After waiting 28 days, Penny was spotted on camera, and days later, she was caught in the trap. Penny survived two major rainstorms and the risk of much larger animals like coyotes, bobcats, and mountain lions in the area.

Penny was skin and bones when she was found, weighing in at just 23 pounds. She was about 40 pounds when she went missing.

Babs Fry helps families reunite with their animals for free, but has hopes to turn her work into a non-profit. To thank Fry, the family is going to help her get her charity up and running.