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Animal search organizations join search for Jager

A 5-year-old Shetland sheepdog has been missing for over a month.

But that hasn’t stopped Jager’s owners from doing everything in their power to bring him home.

Anissa and Joe Nunemacher were on their way home from vacation on July 25 when they received the call from a pet sitter that changed everything. An accident - Jager bolted out the door from where he was temporarily staying in Summit Hill.

“They chased him across the entire town of Summit Hill - and we don’t live in Summit Hill, we live in Coaldale,” Anissa said.

“He doesn’t know where he’s at, and they chased him in the woods. We were about an hour away from home, we were about to pick him up. I immediately posted on Facebook and called family and told them to get up there. I thought maybe they would hear familiar voices.”

The Nunemachers have spent countless hours covering a ton of territory on their search for Jager. But there are a ton of wooded and desolate areas in the outskirts of Coaldale and Summit Hill.

“I walked from Summit Hill down through the mines and I walked right to my door in Coaldale. You can walk to Lansford and Nesquehoning. The switchback trail is right there. It’s like worst-case scenario for where did my dog go,” Nunemacher said.

Many outside organizations have helped on the quest to bring Jager, a 45-pound Sheltie home.

“We have Hound Hunters, which is a search and recovery group out of Nazareth. They’re a nonprofit organization, they run strictly on donations. Once you have a sighting, they do all sorts of things - setting up cameras and food stations.”

Nunemacher said she has learned a lot working alongside of these professionals. While first thought for many might be to call the dog’s name in hopes of him returning, that might be counterproductive due to the nature of the Sheltie breed.

“Some dogs immediately go into survival mode. Something just clicks in their brain - They don’t recognize the voice of their owner. They shut it off and they just don’t respond to you. Their goal is to find food and water - stay safe and away from sounds. All these things I’m learning behind the scenes. … Everything that you think you should do, isn’t what you should do.”

Professional Pet Tracking, an organization based in Virginia, made the trip north to help find Jager last month. They’ll be returning this weekend for another search mission.

“She had three different scent dogs that came up. This was right after we had a really positive sighting of him in town. They were able to pick his scent up immediately and tracked him all over town. Right after that is when we had the hurricane remnants coming up and we sort of think that’s what pushed him out, we haven’t really had a sighting since then. They’ll be back this weekend and the goal is to find a direction that he’s gone.”

Nunemacher said if someone sees Jager, the best course of action is to call her (on the phone) immediately - not to chase or yell for Jager.

“If somebody sees him, don’t try and get him, nothing. Just pick up the phone and call. It doesn’t matter what time. What it gives us is a new point. Now we can get cameras in there and set up food stations. They can move some of that stuff since we’ve been at a standstill.”

It’s been a nonstop, stressful month-plus for the Nunemachers - who are not giving up on their beloved four-legged family member.

“My husband would get up early in the morning before it was light out and go riding around before he goes to work. Then we would both work all day and come home. It’s absolutely exhausting. It’s like our lives have stopped, but you can’t - you still have to do the day-to-day things and pay the bills. You just want to curl up in a ball, but you can’t.”

Anissa said for the most part, the community support has been amazing. Both friends and strangers have been reaching out throughout the search.

“It restores some faith that there are good people out there. I don’t know how anybody could do this without any help. If you want your dog back - it kills me when I hear people say yeah, he’ll come home.

“If you want to find them, you have to put some work into it. I am sure that there are some people that think I’m out of my mind. But until I know for certain, I can’t just let my dog be gone, that’s crazy.”

Jager is a sable Sheltie. He is tan and white, has darker brown on his back with a white blaze or streak on his face.

“We don’t have kids, our dogs are our babies and our whole world has come to a standstill - while trying to work and maintain a house and another dog who is lost without him, too. I knew the only chance we had was to go full force putting his face out there.”

Call 570-436-2449 with any information or sightings of Jager.