Strangers go out of their way to help family find lost dog

Two people's selfless actions and tireless efforts helped them find a family's beloved pet.

In June, Stephen Shomo of Lawnside, center, and Lori Gerace Gennarelli of Mantua, took matters into their own hands to help Gloucester Township resident Jamie Christinzio search for his then-lost dog Lady after she was involved in a dog attack. (Krystal Nurse/The Sun).

Having a pet go missing can be devastating for many owners. For one Gloucester Township family, they experienced just that, but were quickly comforted as two strangers dedicated time to help look for, and soon find, the missing dog.

On June 9, following an altercation with another dog, Lady the Jack Russel Terrier, went missing at the Timber Creek Dog Park.

“My wife picked her up and threw her over the fence to get her away from the other dog, then Lady took off,” said Jamie Christinzio. “She was gone from around noon that day until around 5 p.m. the next day. We were at a point where we weren’t sure if she was there anymore.

Christinzio said they notified the Gloucester Township Police about Lady’s disappearance, and shortly an officer came out to help them search for her.

Through the department’s significant presence on social media, a post on Lady was shared to nearly 1,000 accounts, soon reaching Lori Gerace Gennarelli’s and Stephen Shomo’s attention.

Both Gennarelli and Shomo worked at the Mantua Township PetSmart and instantly recognized Lady as she’s a regular visitor to their pet hotel and training sessions.

After seeing the post the next morning on June 10, Gennarelli and Shomo said they went into the 140-acre dog park to help Christinzio look for his dog.

We had a group chat between us, and Steve said ‘if I can get out of work early, I’ll meet you there,’” Gennarelli said, who was on vacation at the time. “We’ve been in contact to see if she was found, if there were sightings.

Shomo said he helped look for Lady because he knew what it’s like to lose a dog, and was holding out hope the terrier would still be alive.

The three said having Shomo outside in his blue shirt and khakis, which Lady has frequently seen him in, and keys rattling on his pants helped the dog recognize him as a familiar figure.

She was a little dehydrated when we first found her, had some ticks on her, but it was all taken care of, and within a few days, she was back to her normal self,” Gennarelli said.

Lady has been reunited with her owner thanks to all the caring people who helped give this one a happy ending! Just over 24 hours later out on her own we wish her happy days back at home! #GTPD

Posted by Gloucester Township Police on Monday, June 10, 2019

“There were a good amount of people helping,” Christinzio said. “We were extremely lucky there were a lot of angels. I don’t think we would have found her without these two.”

Shomo’s and Gennarelli’s efforts didn’t go unrecognized as their employer, PetSmart, provided them with certificates of appreciation, a bonus added to their paychecks, paid-time off and a chance to meet and play with Lady on Aug. 7.

It feels good because you hear so much about the bad stuff, or just at work you get called out a lot for the bad stuff you do, but you never get a ‘congratulations’ for the good stuff you do,” Shomo said. “You’re not always looking for that, but it’s nice when you actually do hear it.”

Gennarelli added that Lady, and any other dog they see, is a part of the store’s family and they’re always more than willing to help whenever possible. She went on to say she’ll always be first in line to reach a hand out to anyone needing help.

“Lady’s a huge part of our family, and it was amazing to see how many people we didn’t know, come to try and help us find her, these two especially,” Christinzio said.