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Newly adopted doggy ditches new digs to return to Tucson shelter
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Newly adopted doggy ditches new digs to return to Tucson shelter

From the Arizona Daily Star reporter Jamie Donnelly's top stories of 2021 series

Mor’Du, 5, walked at least 7 miles back to the Pima Animal Care Center after escaping from his new home near Country Club and Grant roads.

Just days after being adopted, a dog who was rescued from a hoarding situation ran away from his new home, making a trek across Tucson that would take him back to the animal shelter.

Mor’Du, a 5-year-old German shepherd mix, was one of several dogs that came to the Pima Animal Care Center from a hoarding case earlier this summer. He was adopted by Kim Cartwright on Aug. 24.

On Aug. 26, he broke out of his collar and ran out of the apartment complex, near Grant and Country Club roads.

“I was terrified,” Cartwright said. “I was afraid because he was running down Country Club toward Grant and you know how busy Grant can get. I was terrified he would end up getting hit by a car.”

A call was put out on social media to keep an eye out for Mor’Du but he ended up walking back to PACC — a 7-mile drive from his new home via a direct route, per Google Maps.

Nikki Reck, public information officer for PACC, said officers from the animal protection team had been working hard to find him when he trotted up to the building at 4000 N. Silverbell Road, near Sweetwater Drive, on Sept. 2.

“It blew my mind,” Reck Said. “Dogs are really smart. They remember where they feel safe and this was the last place where he felt safe.”

Mor'Du, a 5-year-old German shepherd mix, broke free from his collar and escaped from an apartment complex near Country Club and Grant roads on Aug. 26. He ended up walking miles back to the Pima Animal Care Center, where he was previously housed after being recused from a hoarding case earlier this summer.

Due to Mor’Du’s background, he came to PACC undersocialized and scared. Christy Holliger, a volunteer at PACC, worked with Mor’Du often and said he was probably the most scared dog that came from the hoarding case.

The first time Holliger took Mor’Du out to play, she had to carry him to the yard. He then panicked and tried to escape. Over time, Mor’Du warmed up to humans and was able to walk on leash.

Cartwright was looking to adopt a dog as a birthday present for herself. She said she was drawn to Mor’Du because she felt like they would be good for each other.

“I have pretty bad anxiety and PTSD so I got him for emotional support,” Cartwright said. “When they told me his background story, I thought I could help him and he could help me.”

While it was a terrifying experience for Cartwright, when she heard that he had made it to PACC safely, she couldn’t help but laugh when she received the call.

Mor’Du and Cartwright haven’t been reunited just yet. Mor’Du is still at PACC and is working on a few things so he will be more comfortable in his new home.

“It’s hard for dogs when they go from a shelter environment to somewhere brand new,” Reck said. “We give precautions for a reason, especially for dogs like this, because it’s really scary for them.”

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