TROLLING – Ardel Wilkinson hauls in a chum salmon this afternoon while trolling in Sitka Sound aboard the F/V Joseph. On Thursday the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals indicated that it is unlikely to grant an environmental group’s petition for an order that could halt — at least temporarily —the Southeast Alaska king salmon troll fishery. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

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Daily Sitka Sentinel

Blind, Elderly Pet Found After 3-Week Ordeal


Sentinel Staff Writer

An elderly, blind golden retriever, missing for three weeks, was found barely alive Tuesday in a roadside embankment and reunited with her family.

Lulu, the Kubacki family’s beloved pet, wandered away from their home on the 1200 block of Halibut Point Road on June 18, leading to a multi-week search.

The Kubackis searched for weeks, but by Tuesday they had all but abandoned hope of finding her.

Ted Kubacki gets a lick from the family golden retriever, Lulu, today outside their house. Behind Ted is his wife, Rebecca, their children Ella, Viola, Star, Lazaria and Olive. The elderly, blind dog was found after being missing for three weeks. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

“We had written it off, you know, maybe a week before even,” Ted Kubacki said. “We were still saying her in our daily prayers at meals, but we stopped going out.”

But then a Marble Construction Co. crew working in the area spotted Lulu lying in the brush alongside the road.

“There’s an embankment, about a 12- or 15-foot drop down, that’s just a bowl of salmonberry bushes down there and they looked down in there,” Kubacki told the Sentinel. “They actually thought that she was a bear or something, and then they got a closer look and they realized that it was a dog and they got her out of there.”

Lulu had been missing since the evening before Father’s Day, Kubacki said.

“We put dinner on and put the kids to bed and then all of a sudden, ‘Hey, I’ll take the dog out,’ and she was just gone,” he said. “Oh no. We went for a mini-search around the neighborhood calling and hollering and nothing happened... Father’s Day was just shot. So we just spent all day searching and that’s when we started putting a post up on Sitka Chatters and just started getting a huge response from people instantly.”

A few days into the search effort someone texted Kubacki saying they had found Lulu.

“We put the kids to bed and got a text saying, ‘We found your dog,’ or ‘I have your dog,’ and we’re like, ‘Oh my god, this is incredible,’” he said. “Then the person texted me, ‘Just kidding.’ This happened, yeah, that was all part of this terrible story.”

But overall the town was quite helpful, Kubacki said. He was especially appreciative for assistance from Karen Royce, a member of the local Search and Rescue team.

While Lulu was missing, Kubacki said, his emotional state was “fear.”

“Just being so scared for her because she’s just so helpless and you kind of imagined that she can’t get real far because she can’t see,” he said. Lulu has been fully blind for about a year.

He recalled the moment he received the news that Lulu was found alive.

“I called my wife from work and it was just screaming... She just starts yelling, then she yells to the kids. And I just hear them screaming like crazy,” Kubacki recalled. “And I’m just like, ‘I’m leaving work right now. Meet me at the vet.’”

Dennis Peterson and the Marble Construction crew located Lulu in the 1100 block of Halibut Point Road, not far from Kubacki’s home.

The elderly animal was alive but not in good shape.

“I just expected to come back and be like ‘Hey, here’s my dog.’ She’s going to jump up and wag her tail and kiss my face, and she couldn’t even pick up her head. She couldn’t wag her tail. Her nose was like a biscuit, just dry, and she’s just all dirty and dreadlocked up and she’d been through the wringer for sure,” he said.

But with medical care, food and rest, Lulu’s condition has improved.

“Slowly but surely she started eating and she was kind of able to pick her head up and I’ve had to pick her up and scoop her and bring her everywhere for the most part,” Kubacki said. “But then yesterday, she propped herself up on her front paws by herself, like nestled into me and gave me a kiss and wagged her tail and it was just so great. Really emotionally overwhelming.”

And today, he said, the dog was able to stand on her own.

Normally 80 pounds, Lulu was down to 57 when she was brought into the vet two days ago. With a large family, Kubacki worried about the veterinarian’s bill, but his concerns proved unfounded after Sitkans donated hundreds of dollars for Lulu’s medical care.

“I’m a sole income provider for a family of seven and I work at a grocery store so I’m not exactly rolling in the extra cash… They just sent us home without one dollar out of pocket,” he said.

He described community support, both in-person and online, as “overwhelming.”

The family’s oldest daughter is 13 and has spent her entire life with Lulu.

“She means everything… I have five daughters and they’re four to 13 years old. So they’ve spent every day of their life with that dog,” Kubacki said.

He and his wife received the dog as a wedding gift, and the story of the town’s support during this adventure is another gift, he said.

“Just how overwhelmed we’ve been by the town is really the biggest part of the story. We have our family member home,” Kubacki said. “And to us, deep down I mean, that’s the most important thing to come from it. Even if she didn’t make it, we still had her home and she wasn’t by herself. Because after such a glorious life of being so loved to go out like that just would have been just awful.”

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July 2004
Photo caption: Junior League All Stars will compete in a tournament in Wrangell. From left are Bryn Calhoun, Chris Scott, Sean O’Neill, Ross Venneberg, Caleb McGraw, Richard Carlos, Jacob Houston, Coby McCarty, Bryan Lovett and Daniel Erickson.


July 1974

Photo caption: Volunteers leave the Yaw Building Library with loads of books being transferred to the new Orin and Betty Stratton Library on the Sheldon Jackson campus. SJC librarian Evelyn Bonner expressed appreciation to the community for the help.


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