Mauer came home, not as we hoped

Mauer, our missing yellow labrador retriever, came home tonight, not in the way we hoped. His remains were found locally by five kids who spotted what they thought was a large rock near the edge of our small town lagoon. Then one realized it was “Pinke’s dog” and they retrieved his body and pulled him to land before going to call me. They were brave to pull him out of very stinky spring lagoon water, took off his collar to bring me and then went to find a phone book to reach me on our home number. I love rural kids who still use phone books and call landlines, even in the sad life moments. 

When I answered the phone on the other end a young voice said, “Hi…I don’t know how to tell you this but I think I found your dog. And it’s not good.” I could hear other kid voices in the background giving her information and details. Those kids really care and our family and many friends will forever be grateful for them. 

I met the kids in town with one of their moms. They were holding what was definitely Mauer’s collar. I kept my composure and we drove to where they had him, safe and right near where we have looked and looked for him.

There was no doubt. It was Mauer. 

Within minutes, a local friend that my husband called came to help me get Mauer’s body home. Both my husband and father-in-law were over an hour away at a job site. I could not have brought Mauer home by myself. It was also not a job anybody would or could do. I am thankful for a helpful friend and to be the only family member who had to see Mauer dead.

The lagoon was the last sighting of Mauer. It’s where we had his kennel filled with food, water, my clothes and my husband Nathan’s shirt in it. It was a lost dog trick we hoped early on would work and he would return there.

For the first three nights Mauer was gone Nathan searched extra for him in the middle of the night, thinking maybe Mauer would hear him better or see his pick-up lights. Every morning, noon and night we checked that kennel for at least ten days. 

And for the last five weeks the clothes and kennel have sat by the lagoon with no sightings of Mauer. On our little corner of the prairie, Mauer will be buried with the clothes and a favorite red frisbee. His littermate sister, Libby, misses Mauer terribly and chasing a red frisbee isn’t nearly as fun. 

To the hundreds of people who searched, shared our social media posts and information, messaged, texted, called, searched sloughs, lakes, tree lines, roadways, communities, area shelters, pounds across four states and more, I will never forget your kindness and compassion.

Thank you.

You rallied. You showed us what community is, online and offline. You reminded me the important role pets play in our lives. You also reassured me it is okay for me to be a crazy dog lady. Mauer was a special family pet we miss. I learned millions of you care for and miss pets and so many of you shared your stories with me. Thank you. 

Here is a look back at a column I wrote about Mauer the homerun dog is missing. I wish we had found him alive in our search. Thank you is all I can say tonight to all who helped search but I plan to share more soon…and ramble less with more coherent sentences.

I can’t get any more recent pictures to upload into this blog post. But here’s a puppy picture before Mauer was our 87 lb. buddy dog. Until we see you again, Mauer, keep chasing red frisbees in heaven.


  1. Danette says:

    I’m so sad that Mauer was not found alive. Pets are a member of the family. My heart aches for your little family

  2. Cindy Schick says:

    Losing a valued furry member of the family is so very hard, but not knowing foresure would be even harder I think. My heart is so heavy for you, your family, and his fur sibling (s) yes even the one he didn’t get the chance to know because in her own way Libby will share some of Mauer’s traits with the new little one. Prayers for you all.

  3. Renita Snyder says:

    Tears are rolling down my face right now. I am huge animal lover and I am so so very sorry your story ended this way. Sending all of you love and hugs from Capron, VA. You spoke and I met you at Farm Bureau Women’s Conference a while back. Again, my heart aches for your loss.
    Renita Snyder

  4. Candace Sachmidt says:

    I am so very, very sorry……. hugs to all of you. Candace Schmidt

  5. So very sorry for your loss. May he rest in doggie heaven until you meet again. How especially kind of the kids to help you out. Love to you all God Bless, Clare x

  6. Rachelle Smith says:

    I am soooo very sorry for the loss of your furbaby. I know a few animal lovers in heaven who welcomed him into their arms until you see him again – may he have forever a wagging tail, frisbees to catch, and ear scratches. May his love forever surround you and your hearts heal. A part of him will always with you.

  7. Marna Schulz says:

    So sorry to read about the outcome of Mauer.

  8. carmenrathwald says:

    So sorry, Katie.

  9. So sorry Katie. 🙁

  10. I’m sorry that this story doesn’t have a happy ending. But it is good to have some closure. We have two pups from one litter and I can only imagine how hard this must be. For you and for Libby.

  11. Sharron Brady says:

    So sorry to hear about your dog, I was hoping you would find him alive and well. Very hard to part with a pet. We just buried our kitty that died in January last night and I had plenty of tears again. We tried everything and she just couldn’t get well. We now have Twinky and she has lit up our lives like a bright and flashing light, she is so naughty and gets into trouble she has helped with our missing Gypsy. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family tonight.

  12. This was very hard to read, and I imagine even harder to write. So sorry. I was hoping for a better outcome.

  13. Roxy Henke says:

    Ohhhh, this makes me so sad.

  14. I’m so so sorry. I know how connected I am with the dogs in my life. I’m thankful you had Mauer in your life and I’m so sad you didn’t get to love on him longer.

  15. Sandra Head says:

    So sorry to hear about Mayer now he’s safe in Gods Hands

  16. Vickey says:

    Dear Pinke Family: So sorry to hear about your precious, Mauer! I was hoping and praying that he would be found and rejoin his family. My heart breaks for all of you as we know so well what it is like to lose those fur babies. RIP, Mauer! Hope you can meet up with our precious, Jake, who we lost last August and you can play and run together!

  17. So sorry to hear your news about your beloved Mauer. When our much-loved pets die, they leave such a hole in our hearts…
    We had to put down our 7-yr-old Carmen (big black lab/shepherd mix) over a month ago when she was diagnosed with cancer of the spleen. Miss our daily routine together and her big bark…
    May your memories bring smiles amid the tears as you remember the happy times you had with Mauer.

  18. I’m so sorry that Mauer didn’t come home as you all and so many people around the country had hoped. Loosing a pet is never easy. My thoughts and prayers are with all of you. May you find comfort in your memories and being able to get in some hugs and belly rubs with Libby.

  19. Barb L. Grosz says:

    I am so sorry for your loss but so very glad that you have closure. I am a crazy dog lady too but there are never any apologies for that. We love them with all our heart! Blessings be yours in the coming days.

  20. Shannon says:

    I am so sorry for you loss.

  21. Rae Wagoner says:

    Big, ugly, snotty tears are being shed in Kentucky.
    Kudos to those kids for assessing what they found and doing hard, kind things, and to your friend who came to help with the unpleasantness.

    I’m quite certain that heaven is well-stocked with red frisbees. Bless you all in your sorrow.

  22. I am so very sorry for your loss. There are no words—our pets are so dear to us. Keeping you in my heart as you grieve.

  23. So very sorry for your loss.

  24. Even in this deep sadness, your touching words and vivid story description was eloquently presented. I’m so sorry for your loss and the unfolding story. It’s hard to share a personal sorrow, but Thank You .

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