A one and a half year old short Beagle named Luke had only been a resident of Colonial Beach for five days, but he was quickly absorbed in the hearts and minds of not only local residents, but further reaching ones as well. Long time resident Beth Markwith had just adopted Luke from the Westmoreland Animal Shelter on Sunday, Feb. 9, and the two were just beginning to establish their friendship when the area had a powerful snowstorm on both Wednesday and Thursday nights. On Friday morning, Markwith answered her door to a gentleman who wanted to know if she wanted to get her driveway shoveled. Markwith noted that “in the time I said no thank you, Luke bolted.” Out the door and down the street the long time hunting dog and runner went.
As Markwith explained her tale, she went back to the story of Luke’s adoption and his reason for running. Markwith noted that Christina Saunders of Westmoreland put Facebook pictures up of two Beagles that lived next door to her. The owners had moved and two of their dogs got away, were back in the woods, and after four months, were taken to the shelter. Markwith, a long time Beagle lover noted that, “Beagles were in my heart.” Her own half Beagle half Cocker had died in 2008 and she had not had a dog since, but something about these two orphans snagged her heart. She knew he had been a hunter and a runner, but she was working hard on potty training him and house training him in the few days he was with her.
By 10 a.m. on Friday morning, she had put on Facebook that Luke was on the loose and for people to be on the lookout. She indicated that some of the youth at her church started helping her search as did Bob Branch and Sherry Hall who are local realtors. Friend Casey Flores starting looking and handing out business cards so that people could call in the event Luke was spotted. As Markwith struggled to name those who helped in the search she finally laughed and said, “Some people helped immensely and I don’t even know their names.” She indicated that the outpouring of support was incredible. Searchers asked people who were out shoveling or walking. Others, like Norman and Heather Trivett, as well as Mindy Meyers Scott, went out with their own dogs to search the streets thinking that Luke might be attracted by another dog.