While searching for a missing state police dog in the woods of Ridgefield Friday morning, volunteer Jeff Kehlenbach began thinking of the worst possible scenario when he came upon a pond off Limestone Road.
“I was at a pond thinking, unfortunately, the worst possible scenario — that he fell through the ice,” said Kehlenbach in an interview with The Press after he rescued K-9 Texas, the bloodhound that went missing during a search and rescue on Wooster Mountain Wednesday night.
Kehlenbach, a former K-9 handler who had a black lab for many years, said he knew the missing dog would be drawn to certain areas in the woods.
“I was calling for him around the pond, thinking maybe he got strung up trying to get water and then I heard howling behind me,” Kehlenbach said.
“I knew that howl — it’s a distinct howl, it’s a hound howl,” he added.
“I walked up the hill and I saw the ears first and then I saw the head and then I saw the harness and I knew it was him, and I couldn’t be happier…he was hung up on the fence….you couldn’t see him from the street.”
Ridgefield resident Laura Stabell saw Kehlenbach and Texas walking on Limestone Road and pulled over. The Lake Road resident drove the former handler and the missing K-9 to Wooster Mountain Shooting Range where a convoy of state police and local police awaited their arrival.
“I saw an ATV with lights on and a man walking down a driveway with a look of utter distress on his face,” Stabell recalled. “I noticed the dog and the leash in his hand and began thinking, ‘that’s the dog they’re looking for!’ I rolled down my window and told them to jump in. He didn’t know where he was and I told him I would take him wherever he needed to go…The dog was shaking and so happy to be found.
“It was like having a Hollywood star in my van, with all the crowd cheering when we pulled up,” she added.
Texas, a three-year-old bloodhound, reunited with his handler, Ed Anuszewski at the scene.
Anuszewski, a 28-year veteran of the force, welcomed Texas back in his embrace and shed a few tears.
Texas has been taken to a local vet office for a checkup.
Check back in at theridgefieldpress.com later today for more updates.