Monday, 10 December 2018
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BREAKING NEWS

Udon is found: Malden family, dog reunited after nearly four months

Against all odds, a beloved member of a Malden family is back home, after almost four months missing. Udon, a 10-year-old Maltese who disappeared from his owners’ fenced-in backyard in June, turned up on Oct. 14, and is now back with the people who never gave up on getting him back.

“I couldn’t believe my eyes,” said owner Ming Tseng, who received a picture of Udon and a message that he was safe in Weymouth. “I knew it was him. The way that he looked in the picture, his expression, I knew. I sent it to my family, they were like, ‘That’s Udon.’ I sent it to my friend, he was like, ‘Even I know that’s Udon.’”

Where Udon was all that time remains a mystery. Tseng says the man who contacted her, and eventually made good on his promise to return Udon, claimed to have found him far from home some time ago, and only recently learned an identical dog was missing in Malden.

“What he said was maybe a month ago he found him in downtown Boston,” said Tseng, who doesn’t think Udon could have made it so far of survived so long on his own. “I 100-percent believe that he was picked up by someone, ever since the first day.”

Tseng never once gave up on finding Udon, plastering the neighborhoods in Malden and Melrose around her house with missing posters, making the rounds at the Victorian Fair in Melrose, and spreading the word online in every venue she could think of.

“I’m just a stubborn person, I’m persistent, I knew that if I gave up there’s no other chance, I won’t get him back,” she said.

Well-meaning friends urged her to move on, pointing to possible fates like starving or being eaten by coyotes, but Tseng saw no point in that kind of speculation, not viewing it as constructive.

“What goes through my mind is, ‘What’s the benefit of you making these suggestions to me?’” she said. “‘I don’t need your two cents.’”

A few strangers responded to her public anxiety with malice.

“There were a few really small prank calls from kids that just had nothing better to do,” Tseng said. “But there was a man who called and said he’d run over my dog and he wanted compensation for his wheels.”

It proved an eventful first case for Jenny Rose Scacca, the Melrose native who just started volunteering with Missing Dogs Massachusetts, the nonprofit that worked with Tseng to spread the word and solicit information about Udon.

“So many people assumed he was eaten by a coyote, or that this whole thing was a joke,” said Scacca. “She even got kid prank callers who said they had her dog, it was awful. There was even a period where flyers were being continuously ripped down from Forest Street in Malden. We did a stakeout to see who it was. A lot went into these past three months.”

Whatever the details of Udon’s odyssey, it wasn’t the first time in his life he’s had to deal with challenges. Tseng adopted him from a relative who didn’t have the time or resources to care for him, leaving him alone in the basement most of the time, and necessitating the removal of half his teeth and other treatment. This latest ordeal left its marks as well.

“He’s gotten skinnier, he had matted fur, but nothing time won’t fix,” said Tseng, adding that Udon’s attitude was never in doubt. “He’s a sturdy little guy. The day I saw him and the guy put him down on the floor, he ran to me and my sister. When we brought him home, he fell right back into it.”

The family’s other two dogs welcomed their friend back in suitable style. Since then, Udon has resumed his former routine.

“Their tails were wagging out of control,” said Tseng. “It’s like he never left.”

Source: http://melrose.wickedlocal.com/news/20181017/udon-is-found-malden-family-dog-reunited-after-nearly-four-months

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