Jax Is Back Home After Two Weeks in the Wildlife Refuge

Pet Captured After Escaping From Car Accident Scene
By Maria Scandale | Jul 09, 2019
Courtesy of: Gabrielle McMillan

Stafford Township, NJ — Jax’s co-owner Steve Sheldon Jr. said the dog “finally got hungry enough” to go into the cage where his food had been moved, as part of the process that caught him July 8 after two weeks roaming in the wildlife refuge off Route 72 on Bonnet Island in Stafford Township.

The boxer mix is resting at home in Ship Bottom with Sheldon’s girlfriend, Gabrielle McMillan, who is recovering from injuries suffered in the car accident that the traumatized pet ran away from.

Despite the fact that frightened dogs may not respond to their owners’ calls in “fight or flight” mode when running scared, Jax couldn’t have been happier to see his owners by the time he was brought home July 8.

“He ran straight from the van, straight to the front door, really happy,” Sheldon told The SandPaper by phone on July 9.

“He went on vacation.”

The young couple doesn’t expect their pet to bolt again anytime soon.

“They told us to keep him away from open doors for a while, but it seems like he doesn’t want to run anymore,” Sheldon has seen. “He wants to stay in the house.”

Jax came home covered in ticks from his outing in the marsh and reeds. But thankfully, the boxer-Rottweiler passed his veterinary exam on Tuesday like a champ.

“We probably removed like a hundred ticks last night when he got home,” Sheldon reported. “All the blood work was negative for Lyme and negative for heartworm, but they gave us wormers, antibiotics and tick medicine for him. The ticks are still falling off of him, and the medicine will kick in.”

Jax’s excursion went regionally viral on social media.

Experienced searchers had a gradual corralling process they use for dogs that are afraid of people, plus Jax can not swim. They did not want him to run into the ponds on the refuge if he felt he was being chased, animal control personnel had said. Several days into the search, after he was cautiously eating and drinking at a feeding station, cameras viewed him retreating back into the woods. Soon, he was sleeping on McMillan’s clothes that had been placed near the feeding station.

Animal-lovers were worried and offered help, but too many searchers only would have scared the skittish dog more, authorities said. And it did not help when a few impatient people went past barriers at night last week and disrupted the progress that had been made. Eventually, the dog ate food that had been moved into an enclosure trap that was set up to close behind him.

By the way, McMillan is doing well also after treatment at AtlantiCare trauma center in Atlantic County. Her car hit a pole on Route 72 after she lost control of it, the vehicle rolled and the pole partly fell onto the vehicle. She was airlifted to the trauma center.

“She’s a lot better now; she recovered throughout the two weeks; there are no scratches or anything, and most of the bruising has gone away,” Sheldon said. “She had her seat belt on; that was good.”

“Thank you to everyone who was so understanding and supportive through this,” McMillan sent her message by social media Tuesday morning. “We are just thrilled he is alive. He is going to get tons of loving and care.”

Sheldon thanked Stafford Township Animal Control, Stafford Township Police Department, Stafford Township EMS (who remained on scene to help after the accident), “and thank you to Mama’s-gona Rescue – that’s who caught him.”

Sheldon’s sister, Danielle Sands, set up a Go Fund Me page shortly after the accident. It is to offset vet and medicine bills for the dog, plus the fact that McMillan is out of work during recovery, and Sheldon lost some work time while helping to search for the dog.

“There has been an overwhelming amount of people wanting to help both on social media and with the search of Jax,” she wrote earlier, “and my family appreciates each and every one of you.”

— Maria Scandale


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