Not everyone enjoys Fourth of July festivities.
The loud bangs and pops from fireworks were enough to send one black Labrador running for the hills.
Robert Tate, of Goodyear, said his 4-year-old Lab, Apex, was so frightened by the fireworks at Green Valley Park Sunday night that she wiggled out of her collar and sprinted away.
Robert and his family searched feverishly through the packed park for the dog, but couldn’t spot her.
After hours of searching at the park, the Tates reluctantly returned to the Valley. After a quick shower and nap, Robert and his wife Marie returned to Payson Monday and hunted the town for any sign of Apex. To no avail, she was gone.
Discouraged, but not defeated, the Tates posted fliers on every stop sign Monday. On Tuesday, the Tates resumed posting fliers.
While at one stop sign, a man stopped and said he had seen Apex up on a hill off Phoenix Street.
The Tates immediately canvassed Phoenix Street, including an unfinished subdivision at the end of the road. A construction crew at one home site said they had a stray in the back of their pickup that might be Apex. Unfortunately, when Robert looked in the back of the truck, it wasn’t Apex.
“We kept looking and eventually went down a dirt road and started looking in the forest,” Robert said. “We walked a ways and heard a whimper.”
The Tates walked around a huge rock and found Apex curled up under a rock overhang.
“She was very dehydrated and had blisters on her feet and could barely get to us,” he said. “She staggered towards us and now she is doing great.”
Robert said Apex looked like she was ready to die.
“She had gone as far away from the public as she could to die,” he said.
Without the help of the man who stopped, we never would have found her.
“We want to say thanks to everyone in Payson who was very supportive and helpful,” Robert said.
The family now plans to buy a home in Payson.