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New York Dog Rescued from Storm Drain And Reunited with Family

Imagine the distress of losing a beloved pet, the uncertainty of their safety, and the longing for their return.

This was the reality for Anna Marie Miller from Rockland County, New York, when her cherished dog, Toto, a 16-year-old Lhasa Apso, mysteriously vanished from her home.

A Neighbor’s Legacy Lives On


Toto’s journey to Anna’s care is a story of love and remembrance.

Originally belonging to Anna’s neighbor, Toto found a new home with her following his previous owner’s passing.

“He was my neighbor’s dog, and my neighbor passed away, so I kept him,” Anna recounted in an interview with ABC News.

For over eight years, Anna and Toto shared a bond akin to family, a connection that made his disappearance all the more agonizing.

The Day Toto Went Missing

On a seemingly ordinary Tuesday, Toto’s adventure began.

Anna’s niece, alone in the house with Toto, accidentally let him out when she opened the front door to silence a smoke alarm.

Upon returning home, Anna was met with the heart-sinking realization that Toto was gone.

Desperate for his safe return, she took to Facebook, seeking the community’s help.

The neighborhood rallied, searching high and low, but Toto remained elusive.

“I thought maybe he was in a ditch someplace, or he was in the woods and that he died,” Miller expressed, her words heavy with worry.

Despite the fear, she held onto hope, praying for Toto’s safe return.

Toto was not just a pet to Anna; he was an integral part of her family, a good dog whose absence left a palpable void.

A Community Effort Leads to a Miraculous Find


Three days later, hope flickered anew.

A neighbor, walking near Miller’s house, heard the faint sound of barking.

Following the sound, she discovered Toto trapped in a storm drain, a predicament he likely endured since his disappearance.

Without hesitation, she alerted Anna and the authorities.

The Haverstraw Police Department, in conjunction with the Village of West Haverstraw DPW, sprang into action.

Their Facebook post detailed the rescue: “This morning, PO Walter Vega and Sgt. Steven Rosado, along with the Village of West Haverstraw DPW, rescued a small dog from a storm drain that had been missing for three days.” They concluded with a heartening note, “The dog was reunited with its owner 🐾.”

The Emotional Reunion

Toto’s ordeal in the storm drain had left him visibly shaken.

Despite the trauma, the reunion with Anna was a moment of pure joy and relief.

Concerned for his well-being, Anna immediately sought veterinary care, as Toto was not eating.

“He’s not eating or anything. But, I think it takes time, you know?”, she said, hopeful that normalcy would soon return to their lives.

The Aftermath of an Ordeal

Following his harrowing experience in the storm drain, Toto’s condition was a cause for concern.

The little Lhasa Apso, once vibrant and full of life, was now struggling to readjust.

Anna, ever the devoted caretaker, was by his side, ensuring he received the necessary medical attention.

“He’s not eating or anything. But, I think it takes time, you know?”, she remarked, her voice a mixture of worry and hope.

Her optimism was a beacon of light in the aftermath of Toto’s ordeal, reflecting the resilience of both pet and owner.

The Role of Social Media and Community in Pet Rescue


Toto’s story is also a compelling example of the power of social media in reuniting lost pets with their owners.

Anna’s quick thinking to post about Toto on Facebook mobilized the community, leading to his eventual discovery and rescue.

It’s a reminder of how technology can be a powerful tool in bringing together a community for a common cause.

Law Enforcement and Public Services: Unsung Heroes

The role of the Haverstraw Police Department and the Village of West Haverstraw DPW in this heartwarming story cannot be overstated.

Their prompt response and dedication to public service played a crucial role in Toto’s safe return.

Their Facebook post following the rescue, ending with “The dog was reunited with its owner 🐾,” was a simple yet powerful testament to their commitment to the community.

The Emotional Impact of Pets in Our Lives

Anna’s attachment to Toto and her profound relief at his return highlight the emotional impact pets have in our lives.

They are not merely animals; they are family members, companions, and sources of unconditional love.

The anxiety and distress Anna experienced during Toto’s absence were shared by many pet owners who have faced similar situations.

It’s a universal bond that transcends boundaries, uniting pet owners in a shared understanding of the joys and sorrows of caring for a furry friend.

A Happy Ending and a Reminder

In the end, Toto’s story is one of hope, perseverance, and the strength of community spirit.

It serves as a reminder to cherish our pets, to be vigilant in their care, and to appreciate the role of those who help in times of need.

Thanks to the concerted efforts of Anna, her neighbors, and the local authorities, Toto was not only found but also brought back to a place where he is loved and cared for.

It’s a story that warms the heart and reaffirms the goodness in people and the communities they build.