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Dog reunited with owner after traveling 10 miles in 23 days with broken leg

Union Leader Correspondent

June 27. 2018 11:19AM
A bruised and malnourished Popeye, missing for more than three weeks, seen here just after being reunited with owner Jill Morrison of Auburn. (Jill Morrison)

Popeye catching up on some much needed rest at home with his K9 sibling Sadie. (Jill Morrison)

AUBURN — After being lost for 23 days, getting hit by a car, and traveling nearly 10 miles with a broken leg, an 8-year-old English setter named Popeye was reunited with his owner on Monday thanks to social media Samaritans.

Jill Morrison of Auburn, Popeye’s owner, said the ordeal began in early May when Palo, her 16-year-old Portuguese water dog, had to be put down. Morrison said Palo and Popeye had been especially close since she adopted Popeye more than five years ago.

“Popeye is a rescue and afraid of everything. So, I think he felt vulnerable without Palo there. Popeye’s really calmed down over the years, but I didn’t realize how shaken he was by Palo’s passing,” said Morrison.

Morrison said she tried to spend more one-on-one time with Popeye to cheer him up. On June 2, she took him out to run some errands and left him inside the car with the window slightly open while she ran into the Dunkin’ Donuts on Granite Street in Manchester to use the restroom.

“I was gone for less than five minutes and during that time some motorcycle backfired, waking him up from a dead sleep,” said Morrison. “He squeezed out of a window that he shouldn’t have been able to squeeze out of and took off.”

Morrison said she believes Popeye ran down Douglas Street and made his way to the Piscataquog River Trail. The first Popeye sighting was reported on Facebook the next day.

“All of the people who saw him said he was limping very badly and that his rear end looked dislocated,” said Morrison, who believes he was hit by a car. “He was avoiding people and running straight down the trail.”

Over the next few weeks, Morrison says she put up posters of Popeye and posted about him on Facebook pages for Manchester, Goffstown and New Boston. Friends and strangers on social media continued to report sightings of the injured dog, even as far away as Glen Lake in Goffstown.

Finally, Morrison got an early morning phone on Monday from a someone on Peppermint Street in Goffstown who had found a dog matching Popeye’s description. Morrison said that the homeowner had been following her posts on Facebook.

“When I first saw him, his head popped up when he heard my voice like a jack in the box,” recalled Morrison. “He hesitated for a minute, and I got down on the ground so he could get to me. He made his way over — swinging his leg along — and kind of tentatively circled me at first. But once he got a good whiff and realized it was me, he just broke down, collapsed into my lap, and started to whimper and shake.”

A trip to the veterinarian revealed that the femur of Popeye’s left rear leg was broken and that the leg will need to be amputated as soon as the dog puts back on some of the weight he lost during his journey.

“All kinds of things came together for him to get found. It’s pretty amazing,” said Morrison.

A friend of Morrison’s has set up a GoFundMe page to help with the cost of Popeye’s upcoming surgery at

Human Interest Animals Auburn Goffstown

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