By Bob Uphues
Riverside police – with the aid of a social media posse that served as a real time tracking squad – reunited a 12-year-old white German shepherd with its owner on April 25, a full week after it wandered out of its Berwyn backyard.
"Maxine" walked away from her home in the 3700 block of Highland Avenue, about three miles from where she was found, on April 19. While the dog's owner posted photos and a description on a South Berwyn community group on Facebook, no one zeroed in on her until Wednesday morning.
A Riverside resident posted a photo to Facebook at about 8 a.m. of a white dog that had curled up on her front porch in the vicinity of Riverside and Lawton roads, not too far from the banks of the Des Plaines River.
The dog fled once someone went outside, but others began posting photos as Maxine made her way along the river. Police Chief Thomas Weitzel said residents called in to report the dog's location, which moved around from the 100 block of Fairbank Road to Bloomingbank Road near the Riverside Swim Club.
Village President Ben Sells was walking home from downtown Riverside when he saw a white dog at a distance on Bloomingbank Road. As he drew closer, he could see the dog was wet and muddy as if it had been in the river. He called police as well.
After checking Facebook and seeing that others were trying to pinpoint the dog's locations, Sells said he hopped in the car to try to find it and last saw it near the Scout Cabin.
Just then, a police officer, a public works employee and two other Riverside residents appeared on the scene. The officer was able to secure the dog near the river and coax it into his squad car. A woman who came by with some food fed Maxine by hand.
"It was the sweetest dog," Sells said.
Because the owner had listed his phone number with his initial post about losing the dog, he was able to be reached quickly and came to the Riverside Police Department at about 11 a.m. to collect Maxine, who had sustained some sort of leg injury during her seven-day ordeal in the wild.
"It was definitely injured and was limping noticeably," said Weitzel.