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Motorists rescue missing White Oak dog

| Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2013, 2:31 a.m.
Carol Waterloo Frazier | Daily News
Marlene Frye and Brandy, center, share in a reunion celebration with Frye's son Glenn Zaucha, cat coordinator at White Oak Animal Safe Haven Cecilia Foor, WOASH founder Ina Marton, and volunteer Debbie Malinoski.

When a 12-year-old dog named Brandy jumped out of her owner's unattended parked car in White Oak last month, the search was on to find her.

It ended Tuesday afternoon when the Lab-Chow mix was found safe along Lincoln Way.

“I put up 600 posters and other people put up posters to try to find her,” said Marlene Frye of Manor, whose stepfather, Donald Kitchen, is the dog's owner.

On Sept. 20, Brandy was in the car with Kitchen, 80, when he set out to run an errand. Realizing the car was low on gas, he put the windows down rather than keep the air conditioner running when he made a brief stop at his doctor's office. When he returned, Brandy was gone.

“That's the first time he ever rolled the windows down,” Frye said.

Police were notified immediately, Frye said, and she began a dedicated search for the beloved pet.

“I've been looking for her every day, sometimes until 3 in the morning,” Freye said. “I would spend eight to 10 hours a day walking and driving around. The police in White Oak and other areas have been wonderful.”

When she received reports that the dog may have been spotted, Frye said she would sit waiting for hours. She said she spent 15 hours watching in McKeesport's Grandview neighborhood.

Those long days and nights of searching and praying ended when motorist Damian Marchitello of Trafford saw Brandy running along Lincoln Way.

“I didn't want her to get hurt so I stopped and tried to help her,” Marchitello, who owns two dogs, said. “I would be devastated if anything happened to her.”

He described her as “dirty, hungry and scared,” but he was able to hold her. A passerby stopped to help.

“I don't know who he is,” Marchitello said. “We shook hands and I think he said his name is Jeff.”

Susan Mottu of Penn Hills offered to take Brandy to White Oak Animal Safe Haven.

“I work across the street and saw what was happening,” she said. “I just happened to have a car that is used to having dogs in it and I am comfortable around dogs.

“All I did was assist. Those two guys who rescued the dog were amazing. The traffic was terrible and they were having trouble getting the dog. One of the guys was stopping traffic. They were fantastic.”

Mottu said seeing Brandy's reunion with Frye was worth the rescue effort.

“The best moment was to see their eyes when we brought Brandy into the shelter,” Mottu said. “Everyone stopped cold and then the tears flowed. It was a lovely thing to be even a small part of.”

“Thank God we have this place,” shelter founder Ina Jean Marton said. “I kept praying every night that she would be found safe.

“When she came through this door, everyone knew it was Brandy and it was confirmed when we scanned the microchip. This was a very happy day.”

Carol Waterloo Frazier is an editor for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1916, or