NORTHBROOK, Ill. – Two-year-old Lex is back home with his ‘little’ big brother Jack, playing in the backyard as if nothing happened.
Two weeks ago, the scene was different. Lex wanted to be let outside, to roam amongst the gated yard.
“So I let him out,” said Lex’s owner Jon Rollins. “And then I went back to watch some TV and I would say about five minutes later, I got an alert on my watch saying that Lex had left the property.”
Rollins and Lex are both deaf. Eli Rollins, Jon’s son, was home when Lex escaped.
“Since he’s a deaf dog, we can’t just go calling out for him,” Eli Rollins said. “He won’t hear us. I was so worried because we just got him and I was so scared of anything ever happening to him.”
Just last year, Lex was adopted by the Rollins family from an animal shelter that rescues deaf and blind dogs called Speak St. Louis.
Allison Rollins says she was thrilled to welcome Lex into their forever home. To ensure this, the Rollins family took some precautions.
“We were worried about him getting out and she told us about Fi, the collar, so we were relieved that there was something like that for sure,” Allison Rollins said.
Little did the family know that an open gate would put the GPS tracking collar into action.
When Lex disappeared, Jon Rollins says he “freaked out.”
“I was screaming, ‘Lex ran away. Lex ran away,'” he said.
The family’s biggest concern was a busy nearby intersection – Dundee and Sanders. Jon Rollins said he knew he needed to find Lex and fast.
“I stopped and thought, ‘maybe the app on the phone will tell me where Lex is,'” he said. “I look, and I say ‘yes, he’s one block on the other side of the street.'”
Jon sprung into action.
“I went over there and I saw a family petting something and I thought it might be Lex. So I drove to that family and they said ‘is that your dog?’ And I said ‘yes, yes,'” Rollins said.
Jon Rollins was relieved, he said, and quickly got Lex back home. It was a close call for the Rollins family. Jeanette Garlow of Lost Dog Illinois says the Rollins family ordeal has happened to so many others.
“Thousands of dogs go missing every year,” she said. “You just don’t know when you’re dog is going to go missing.”
It’s why Lost Dogs Illinois says beyond a hi-tech collar, a microchip is the next best thing.
“That microchip can get your dog home,” she said.
For Lex and the Rollins family, the crisis was averted. It’s a good ending for a nerve-racking story that thankfully, stayed close to home.
“If we didn’t have the tracker, I don’t know if we would have ever found him,” Eli Rollins says, “or if we found him, it would’ve taken a very long time.”