© 2021
Telling West Virginia's Story
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
WVPB News

‘He Just Kept Running’: How A Scrappy Stray Dog Was Finally Caught

miller_with_bandana_0.jpg
courtesy Brandi O'Dell
Miller after he was captured and went to live with Crystal Yoke, his new foster mom

Like many stray dogs, there are mysteries with Miller’s story. Here’s what we know: Miller is a small, black and brown dog, and he looks like he has a little chihuahua in him. He was found roaming free in Charleston, then brought into the local animal shelter. In November 2018, a family adopted him. But soon afterwards he escaped. 

Two months later, he popped up in the East End of Charleston. One thing nobody really knows is how he got there — the family who initially adopted him live almost six miles away. Miller was on the run in the East End for almost a month during the coldest part of winter. 

miller_on_the_loose_0.jpg
Credit courtesy Emmett Pepper
Miller the dog

The Search Begins

“Miller the dog is a scrappy, independent dog that was lose for a couple of weeks,” said Emmett Pepper, a Charleston resident who once tried to catch Miller for 45 minutes. “He just kept going, he would stop for awhile, then look at us and let us catch up, and then just keep running.”

“But nobody could ever get close to him, and he was always just like a bullet,” said Candi Henderson, another Charleston resident. “He was always in like full speed, like he had somewhere to go.”

Then a cold snap in January brought temperatures into the single digits, and dozens of people became involved in the attempt to capture Miller to get him to safety. On Facebook, dozens of photos were posted of Miller.

“Any pictures of him, you could kind of see his small body but his legs were blurry, just cause he was always on the run,” said Meghan Smith, who was following the dog’s story on Facebook. She said she desperately wanted to be the one to catch Miller.

Fame

As the weeks went on and it became apparent that Miller was no ordinary dog., his social media status blew up. Memes were made about him. Someone made him a Facebook profile. 

51656888_10216486256020514_5429080434443026432_n.jpg

Brandi O’ Dell, another neighbor, was organizing the search. She put up posters with her phone number all over the neighborhood, and she was getting lots of Miller sightings.

"I was getting calls daily, and they were sightings, but he was so fast there was no way I could respond because he would always be gone by the time I got there," she said.

Capture

But then, on Valentine’s Day, a hound dog named Charli was out walking with his owner. Miller went over to Charli to play.

The dog’s owner, Shaun Dunlap, reached out and grabbed Miller, who wasn’t happy about being caught. He began barking and tried to bite.

"It looked like he was a captured fugitive or something," Shaun recalled. He called the number from all the posters about Miller.

When O’Dell got his call, she said at first she was in disbelief.

"I said, so wait a minute, are you telling me you have actually apprehended this dog?," she said.

By the time she reached the scene, a crowd of people was surrounding him, offering him treats and snapping his photo. Someone had wrapped him in a towel to see if that would calm him down.

"Of course, Miller was terrified. And when I held him, tears were running down his eyes and he was just so scared, and I was just like, ‘little baby it’s gonna be ok.’ And he kissed my nose, and I knew then that it was gonna be ok, he was gonna be fine," O'Dell said.

So What is Miller’s Future?

The family who originally adopted Miller from the shelter decided they weren’t the best fit. Miller is just too fast and needs a special owner who can train him, otherwise, he’ll probably just run away again.

51900628_2102047826576335_1885606177564262400_n.jpg
Credit courtesy Brandi O'Dell
Brandi O'Dell with Miller just after he was caught

According to O’Dell, several different people in the neighborhood have been fostering him, getting him to his vet appointments, and housetraining him. She and some of the other volunteer rescuers are hoping they’ll find an owner for Miller who can keep up with his speed and appreciate his wild ways.

"I think that Miller would make an awesome agility dog. He is fast fast fast. It became a joke in the Facebook world that he was the fastest dog alive," said O’Dell.

For now, Miller is resting up and enjoying the comfort of having a warm bed. According to O’Dell, he likes to sleep in and doesn’t always want to get up in the mornings to go for his morning walks especially when it’s cold.


WVPB is local news, education, music, and entertainment for West Virginia.
Your donation today will help keep us strong and vital.