Lost-and-found dog leads to donation to North Irwin

| Wednesday, March 27, 2013, 9:01 p.m.

A North Huntingdon family is planning to reward the good deeds of several North Irwin residents.

Jim Shorkey III and his wife, Jaime, plan to donate $4,000 to the borough by the end of the month, which council plans to use to update its baseball field, after several residents helped locate the family's lost Labradoodle, Baloo, last spring.

Baloo ran off last Memorial Day weekend, Jim Shorkey said.

Within hours, the Shorkey family and their friends began searching for Baloo and posting fliers. Each day, they searched from dawn until dusk.

“We had gotten calls from people saying they'd seen him around the North Irwin area, but he's a timid dog, so he'd run away when people approached him,” Jim Shorkey said. “A lot of people from North Irwin came out to find him. It was incredible.”

North Irwin council President Kim Macalus said borough residents put out several calls to the Irwin and North Huntingdon police departments in hopes he had been found, while others searched the neighborhood with Baloo's favorite treat — peanut butter — in hand.

Loud fireworks, high temperatures and heavy rain were commonplace while Baloo was missing, which caused the Shorkeys to worry they might never find him, Shorkey said.

But a search party found Baloo after searching for four and a half days in North Irwin, Jim Shorkey said.

“When we found him, his hair was severely matted, and there was lots of foliage in it,” he said. “His paws were a little worn out from all the walking and running, but he didn't lose any weight, so he did well overall.”

The Shorkeys credit North Irwin residents with helping bring Baloo home.

When Jim Shorkey approached Macalus about making a donation last month, she told him the baseball field needed a lot of work.

Macalus said crews need to remove weeds from the entire baseball field, level the infield, and lay a new coat of clay and sand mixture on the infield. The field has a drainage system that needs to be cleaned, she added.

Along with the donation, council agreed to let the Shorkey family install a sign indicating the donation was made by the Shorkey Family Auto Group, Macalus said.

The borough plans to refurbish the field this summer, she said.

“I really feel like after all the help from its residents, North Irwin deserves this donation,” Jim Shorkey said. “They helped us have a very happy ending to the search.”

Brad Pedersen is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8626, or bpedersen@tribweb.com.

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