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Tragic Loss and Bittersweet Moments: A Sarasota Man's Fourth of July

Phillip Sherry experienced a heartbreaking 4th of July when his beloved 11-month-old puppy, Maple, was hit by a car after being spooked by fireworks. While visiting family in Sarasota, Sherry had Maple on a leash as they prepared to head home. However, the loud fireworks frightened Maple, causing her to pull away with such force that she slipped out of her collar.

"I had a leash and collar on her. She was just so frightened, she pulled away with everything she had and the collar came right off her. She fought it," Sherry recounted.

Despite Sherry's efforts to chase after Maple, he lost sight of her. Desperate to find his lost puppy, Sherry turned to the Facebook page "Lost and Found Pets 941," managed by Patty Giarrusso, who operates Lost Pet Services, a nonprofit organization dedicated to reuniting lost pets with their families.

"I was on the Facebook page for lost pets, which was amazing. Someone reached out and said they actually saw her running down Tuttle," Sherry said.

With the help of the online community, Sherry and his family located Maple near Tuttle Avenue and Hyde Park Street in Sarasota, about a mile from where she had run off. Tragically, they found her too late; Maple had been struck and killed by a car.

"Words can't describe it. I'm heartbroken. I'm broken from it," Sherry said, reflecting on the devastating loss. "She was lying in the middle of the road. No one had stopped and we found her."

In a bittersweet twist, just hours later, Sherry's family encountered another lost dog that had been spooked by fireworks. They were able to reunite the dog with its owners, providing a small glimmer of hope amidst their own sorrow.

"About 12 hours later, my parents actually encountered a lost dog from the same circumstances. He escaped in the backyard because of the fireworks, and we located his home and got him home safely, thank God. It was a little light to the story of our horrors from the 4th," Sherry shared.

Patty Giarrusso noted that her nonprofit had reunited 55 lost pets over the weekend, all of whom had been frightened by fireworks. While the holiday brought tragedy for the Sherry family, the efforts of Lost Pet Services offered comfort and resolution to many others.

Remember to keep your pets indoors during fireworks displays, provide a safe space for them to hide if they become anxious, and consider calming aids or calming music. Let's all do our part to keep our beloved pets safe and happy this summer season.

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