Poppy the dog found safe and sound! Alfred State students assist HALO in rescue

Small breed white male missing for eleven days

By Andrew Harris

On August 29, Poppy disappeared. Owners Robert Amico and Maya Booman-Amico were devastated and needed help. Luckily for the Amicos, and for Poppy, the dog was originally rescued by a very dedicated group based in Chicago, Illinois: Havanase Angel League Organization (HALO).

HALO is a no-kill shelter dedicated to rescuing Havanse dogs from puppy mills and other cases of cruelty. Once they’ve adopted a dog, HALO is available for help, in this case a major effort to find a lost member of the HALO family.

When Poppy went missing, HALO sent volunteer members from Maine, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Epic Animal Recovery (EAR). Between HALO and EAR, Poppy’s research was extensive, systematic and expensive. High-tech motion cameras were installed throughout the Alfred area, a small army of volunteers hung up posters in so many places, it was hard for the public not to know that Poppy was lost. EAR brought in search and rescue dogs to roam the rural areas than the little dog. Learn more about this group here:

Although the K9 tracking dogs did not find Poppy, the overall effort and community awareness of the dog’s disappearance worked. As Alfred State College students played on a school sports field, Poppy ran onto the field. Three of the players immediately recognized the dog and understood how much the owners and volunteers were looking for him. The players closed the gates to the pitch so the dog couldn’t escape (yet) and contacted the Amicos with the good news.

We spoke to Robert and Maya today as they waited for Poppy to be cared for by staff at Enchanted Mountains Emergency Veterinary Care in Olean NY. The couple were clearly happy, grateful and relieved that this story had a happy ending. Robert loved HALO and their dedication to the animals they rescued and adopted into loving homes:

“Thank you so much to HALO for their incredible support. There is no limit to how far they will go to save one of their dogs. Whether it’s putting up signs, bringing people to help and to keep hope: we are extremely grateful.

The Amico also hailed the three Alfred State College students as heroes to his family and his lost dog.

Robert Amico finds Poppy
The Three Alfred State Students Who Found Poppy

“The three young men from Alfred State who found Poppy, called me immediately, then hugged him were amazing. Can’t say enough about them and the presence of mind they have. These three really deserve a lot of credit and we thank them again.”

Visiting Alfred NY soon? Stay at “Hann”

For the folks at HALO, it was a colossal effort, costing over ten thousand dollars and worth every penny. As Poppy’s owner explained, HALO makes a real commitment to every animal lucky enough to be rescued by them. A representative from HALO made this statement about the successful recovery:

EPIC and HALO search near Castle Alfred Station

“When someone adopts from us, we always say ‘Welcome to the HALO family’! Never take those words lightly! We are here for everyone and every precious pup in good times and bad. We are We are here to love and support you in times of need and we are here to celebrate the successes Today we celebrate!!!!We celebrate the discovery of bringing this baby home and we celebrate the love that is here at within our group. I could not be more proud and humbled of you all.
The University Boys (ASC) had seen the many flyers that had been put up. They saw Poppy at the baseball field and called 911 for the security guard to come. They closed all the gates and chased him for about 30 minutes inside the secure grounds. They were able to recover it. NO SHAKE. He was ready to go home! Bob and Maya tried 3 emergency vets last night but couldn’t get him checked out. They took him home and he will be checked today.
Today the tears of joy flow! 💖. We all love you Poppy and WE NEVER GAVE UP!

Impressed by HALO? You can make a contribution to the group by visiting their website or this fundraiser dedicated to the poppy effort. HALO is a 401c3 non-profit organization, so all donations are tax-deductible.