Delores Roehling received the best birthday present should could have asked for on her 86th birthday: a dog.
This wasn’t just any dog, though. This dog was going blind and deaf. This dog ran in circles when it was nervous. This dog was her dog, and it had gone missing nine days earlier.
Delores’s daughter, Becky Ringelstetter, posted signs around North Freedom. The sign read, “I’m lost! Please help me get home. I’m blind, deaf and run in circles with anxiety. - Lady.”
On Jan. 27, 2017, Nikki Schafer’s fifth-grade class at North Freedom Elementary School spotted a black blob in the snow. At first the students thought it was a cat. As they continued to watch, they noticed the animal’s strange behavior as it ran in circles and thought it might be a rabid animal. A few students remembered the signs posted around town about a missing dog.
They went to North Freedom Elementary School’s principal Kathy Andreasen and said, “It’s the missing dog that runs in circles from the poster!”
Principal Andreasen made a few calls. The dog had been taken to the Sauk County Humane Society, and it was there that Delores and Lady were reunited.
After spending nine days outside during a Wisconsin winter, Lady was skinny and her hair was matted. Being that she was blind, deaf and old, the humane society recommended euthanasia. “That’s my dog and we’re going home,” Delores told them.
On February 7, 2017, Delores and Becky brought Lady to North Freedom Elementary School to visit the students.
“Thank you so much for being part of Lady's journey home,” Becky told the class.
Delores asked the class if any of them had fed the dog, marveling at how Lady could have survived the freezing temperatures with no food.
Becky told the students that they had originally rescued Lady from a puppy mill, where she had lived in a small cage and there wasn’t much room to run so she developed the habit of running in circles when she was anxious. It was ultimately this quirky behavior that led to the fifth-grade students recognizing Lady from the poster.
As a reward for finding Lady, Delores and Becky baked chocolate chip cookies for the students as their way to say “thank you.” “Make them big!” Delores told Becky.
And they were.