Luke's Donut Shop gets a lot of regulars, but when staff came in at 4 a.m. Friday to make doughnuts, they saw a special visitor chowing down.
A black Labrador retriever named Molly, which had been missing for four weeks, was lured by doughnuts the owners left in a cage trap Avon-Canton Animal Control Officer Beverly LaPlume set up after receiving reports of sightings in that area.
Luke's co-owner Sam Kassim called LaPlume right away.
"Bev! Dog in trap!" LaPlume said he told her.
She got there as soon as she could and called owner Betsy Vanloon, of Simsbury, to let her know. VanLoon, who had just adopted Molly, 9, six months before, was reunited with her dog at 7:30 a.m. at Animal General, an Avon veterinary office.
"She was ecstatic. It was nice," LaPlume said of owner Betsy Vanloon, who shed tears of happiness to see her dog again.
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Molly had run off a month ago while Vanloon was getting her out of the car for a veterinarian appointment at Animal General in Avon
There were some sightings in the area, including at the Animal General parking lot last Tuesday, but no one could get close enough to catch her. A staff member at the Golf Club of Avon on Country Club Road saw Molly one night as he was getting ready to head home and couldn't catch her, but threw her a few pieces of bacon from the kitchen, LaPlume said.
When a dog goes missing for several weeks, the chances of it turning up are slim. LaPlume said she was getting worried when there were no sightings for a week, she said. In addition to combing the area where it went missing and following reports of sightings, LaPlume also typically tries to identify any possible food sources a dog might return to when it's hungry.
In this case, that food source was Luke's, which makes fresh doughnuts every morning.
"She must have liked Luke's Donuts," LaPlume said, thanking Kassim for being so helpful.
A woman who brings the leftover doughnuts to a Hartford homeless shelter saw Molly near Luke's one around closing time when she came to pick up the doughnuts.
A Public Works employee helped set the trap that safely contained her, LaPlume said. Kassim said he put a few chocolate and glazed doughnuts out as bait.
"I tried to do my best and I was happy to see it in the cage Friday morning," Kassim said.
After running tests on Molly, Animal General vets determined Molly was healthy besides losing 20 pounds.
LaPlume said that often times people hear about the dogs that are never found so she said she was happy to tell the story of one that was able to return home.