Runaway dog reunited with family after TMJ4 viewer recognizes it on air

A Good Samaritan recognized Packer from the news
Posted at 6:36 AM, Jul 07, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-07 07:36:22-04

When TODAY'S TMJ4 met Billy Graun on Tuesday afternoon, he was pretty low.

The Southside resident was at the Milwaukee Area Domestic Animal Control Commission showing everyone pictures of his missing dog, Packer. He had a bunch of images on his iPhone. Packer in sunglasses. Packer smiling a big doggie grin. Packer being Packer.

“We really miss our dog. It’s not the same. I’ve been sad," he said at the time.

Billy wasn’t crying, but you wondered if he wanted to. His best friend had been missing since Saturday night when he ran off during a south side splash of fireworks. After feasting on barbecue with the family, poor Packer had become ill and went outside to get right. That’s when the pyrotechnics got to the pooch and he took off.

Fortunately for Packer and Billy, TODAY'S TMJ4 reporter Coreen Zell made the pair the focus of her report on dogs and fireworks. She showed pictures of the missing canine during the 10:00 p.m. news.

Don Nicholson was watching TODAY'S TMJ4 at that time and he recognized the mixed breed mutt wearing sunglasses in Coreen’s story. It was the dog he had seen sprinting down 27th Street. It was the dog he had slammed on his brakes to rescue. It was the dog right there in his living room watching the news with him. He had planned to keep Packer, although until he saw Coreen’s story he didn’t know Packer’s name.

Don called MADACC. He also called Coreen. Soon the wheels were in motion.

“I get a call saying that this guy has the dog!” Billy said Wednesday afternoon.

Billy didn’t waste any time. He jumped in the car with a few other family members including his other dog, Butter. After a roughly hour long drive, there was a joyful reunion.

“We pull up, Packer is in the door, in the window, just smiling his smiley self," he said.

Billy produced a snapshot taken shortly after the joyful, rural reunion. The first thing you notice is the wide, happy, doggie grin planted on the face of his irrepressible mutt. Packer was, of course, seated right next to Billy as he recounted the reunion for Coreen.

Billy said he hopes to get an identification chip placed in each of his dogs. He vows that until he does that, both dogs will be in collars and leashes.