MANCHESTER — Colleen Gould wants to thank everyone who helped in the search for her neighbor's dog, Ares, who unlike his namesake God of War, was spooked by an M-80 firecracker set off in the West Hancock/Goffe streets neighborhood Sunday evening about 7:30.
Gould said she and her boyfriend were keeping an eye on Ares, whose owner was not home. But when Gould's boyfriend opened the gate to check on Ares, the dog bolted.
She said Ares, a mastiff-Rhodesian mix, weighs about 55 pounds and nearly knocked over her boyfriend as he fled. The two immediately went searching for the dog, not even stopping to put on their shoes.
"A lady came up to me and said: 'He ran into my car,' " said Gould, who added that the woman provided her information for contact. Gould said the neighborhood rallied and joined the search.
She said police officers were also among those keeping an eye out, passing along information like the dog being in the river and, later, on Varney Street.
Gould also put information about Ares on Facebook, alerting Granite State Dog Recovery, a volunteer nonprofit dedicated to reuniting lost pets and their families.
"I was getting lots of texts," Gould said.
Two children from the neighborhood, ages 8 and 13, accompanied Gould on her personal search for Ares. At one point she heard he was in the river, so Gould climbed down the ledges.
"I went into the river," she said. "I could hear him," but she could not see him.
"But he found his way out of the river," she said.
Gould marvels at how many people helped in the search. Complete strangers joined in, she said.
"I was overwhelmed by people's compassion," she said, and wanted to express her gratitude.
Finally, after covering what she estimates is a 3-mile radius of the area, she went home, close to midnight.
"I kept the gate open," she said. "He walked right in."
Ares' owner, Bonnie Stringfellow, said: "I can't even put into words how grateful and overwhelmed with how many people dropped everything and searched for my beloved dog. To everyone who took the time to selflessly care about a complete stranger, I am eternally grateful. God Bless you all."
Gould said the story ends with "happily ever after," except for Ares: "He's got a swollen nose."