Lost dog found, back at home

Almost exactly a month after going missing during the Moscow Mountain fire, 2-year-old American Eskimo Dog Aspen, now Ani, poses for a portrait with her owner, Jim Mital, in the comfort of their own home after being found Sunday morning in Moscow. After returning home, Mital said the two took a short walk in the early afternoon before cuddling up on the couch to watch the Vikings beat the Seahawks. “I’m a Vikings fan, since I grew up in Minnesota, and Ani will be, too,” he said. Mital added that Aspen’s name change to Ani was paying homage to the Anishinaabe, who were the First Nation people of northern Minnesota.

After almost four weeks on the run, the wayward American Eskimo Dog that captured the fancy of Moscow residents on social media is back home with its owner.

In the early hours Sunday, Jim Mital said he found his dog, Aspen, in a trap he’d placed on Levick Street in Moscow. The street runs parallel to South Main Street just south of A&W Restaurant.

The elusive dog was the subject of a Daily News article Saturday after Mital had posted across the city bright signs and flyers with Aspen’s picture on them. Dozens of Aspen sightings were tracked by Mital on a Google map overlay, and interested residents kept tabs on the runaway on several Facebook pages.

Mital said seeing his dog in the trap Sunday shocked him a little. Prior, he had caught a handful of cats and a persistent neighborhood Yorkie in the trap.

With the help of friends, Mital loaded the dog, still in the trap, into the back of his truck and drove her to Mital’s home at the base of Moscow Mountain. He then let her calm down in the trap for an hour or two in his living room before finally opening the cage for her.

Going forward, Mital said he’s being extra careful when letting his other dog outside. He puts Aspen’s leash under the leg of a heavy chair so she can’t bolt out the door again.

To mark the new beginning, Mital said Aspen is now going by “Ani” and said he is very happy to have her home.

Kali Nelson is the news clerk at the Moscow-Pullman Daily News. You can reach her with feature story ideas at knelson@dnews.com.

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