A HOLIDAY DILL-LIGHT: Morgan family dog Mr. Pickles found safe in return home for Christmas

Published 2:45 pm Thursday, December 21, 2023

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A Christmas miracle came early for Ashley Morgan and her family this year after their dog Mr. Pickles went missing, but thanks to the community’s efforts, he is safely back home.

Mr. Pickles is a 6-year-old miniature schnauzer she has had since he was a puppy and will be 7 in April. He was named after Morgan’s youngest daughter who was 4 at the time. It was about three weeks ago when she realized he was missing.

“I was scared and afraid that coyotes had gotten him. We made a Facebook post and pretty quickly had people telling us they had seen up the road from our house, which is unlike him. We were informed someone from out of town had picked him up in an SUV. That’s why Facebook is great because it was shared so many times. Even meteorologist James Spann shared it in Birmingham,” Morgan said.

She decided to go out on a whim by making a Facebook post and seeing what happened.

“Sometimes, it works, and sometimes, it doesn’t when you share news like this. I thought it was worth a shot to try and find him, so we could hopefully get him back. People told me the couple that picked him up was nice, and I thought he would be well taken care of. It was 10 or 11 at night, and you also worry about him being outside freezing to death if not being eaten by coyotes. It was probably about three or four days that he was gone.”

Morgan offered a $500 return for Mr. Pickles’ safe return.

“Once we offered the reward, we had somebody message us and say they knew where he was. He was right here in town and worth the $500 to get him back. The couple had taken him to the Wendy’s drive-thru and dropped him off,” she said.

When she first received the message about him, she was unsure if it was true or not.

“I did not believe them at first because I had gotten two messages before that. People were saying they had him, and those turned out to be scams. I felt like this was probably going to be another scam, so I told them I could not talk and to call my husband. He called them, and they told him where he was but did not want him to come to their house. They wanted to meet somewhere else, and the next thing I know, Justin sends me a picture holding Mr. Pickles.”

According to Morgan, Mr. Pickles was found near Holmes Pecan Company’s previous location on East Watson Street in Andalusia.

“Our dogs are chipped, and we contacted the girls at the animal shelter to make sure it was him. I knew it was Mr. Pickles as soon as the picture was sent. They were really good to help, and the Andalusia Police Department went too just to make sure it was all on the up and up. Usually, when you hand somebody $500 for a dog, you want to make sure there is a dog and not just somebody getting your money. They took the reward and gave me my dog back,” she said.

Morgan added that the reunion between her and Mr. Pickles made for an exciting time.

“I was so proud to have him back even though he knew he was in trouble. He is my son and just like children when they misbehave, you are just so happy when you have them back if they go missing. My kids were happy and were able to sleep again.”

The community reached out to her often throughout the time he was missing as a result of the Facebook post going viral.

“I had people messaging me every day asking if we had found him yet. They wanted to know what area he could be in, so they could go look for him. We thought he was in Birmingham because that’s where the people who found him were from. I’m just proud we were able to get him back and am glad to have him home. He is sleeping in his chair, and his son was really happy to see him too because they get lonely when they are apart,” Morgan said.

The family took Mr. Pickles for a bath and haircut after his return just to be sure he was clean and refreshed.

“The people who found him had bathed him and took good care of him. They were not abusing him, and he was clean when he got him back.”

Morgan was appreciative of the community’s efforts for their help in locating Mr. Pickles and ultimately getting him home safe and sound.

“When he went missing, people showed how much they cared and willingly stepped up to help. After offering a $400 reward at first, one guy messaged me and said to bump it up to $500 because he would cover the extra $100. He did not even know me, and I covered it without asking him for his money, but that still showed he thought enough of the dog to offer and do that. This whole community and the Covington County area are so willing to support one another, especially at the holidays. He is ready for Santa Claus to come see him now,” she said.

Ashley and Justin Morgan are the parents of two daughters: Avery, 14, and Ashlyn, 11.