FOND DU LAC CO. (WITI) -- It must've been the meat. That's what a group of animals lovers are saying after a missing dog was located some 25 miles from his new home.
Back on February 19th, Bonnie Harmsen was taking her new golden retriever, Jasper out for a walk outside their Fond du Lac home.
"He just bolted, and pulled out of the collar, and was gone," said Bonnie Harmsen.
For six days, Jasper would remain gone from the Harmsen house, replaced by a range of concerns.
"It just breaks my heart to think of him, you know, just wandering on a cold, frozen lake, looking for food or looking for people," said Mert Harmsen, Bonnie's husband.
Jasper would eventually find both some 25 miles away in the Town of Auburn. He found himself outside the home and business of Lora and Mike Nitschke, owners of Mike's Country Meats.
"He was laying there. He was tired. You could tell he was weak, and, of course, we just don't turn no dogs away," said Lora Nitschke.
Instead, the couple took Jasper in -- feeding him and letting him catch some Zs. They suspect Jasper may have been lured by the scent of their dogs, their meat, and by their passion to protect pooches.
"I think he kinda, sensed that, 'Oh, somebody will, hopefully, take care of me,' and it all worked-out, you know. The story has a happy ending," said Mike Nitschke.
The Nitschkes notified the Fond du Lac County Sheriff's Office about Jasper -- and that led to the dog being returned to the Harmsens. Bonnie and Mert are ecstatic their dog is back in their hands.
"It's like he knows this is home, and this is where he's safe 'n' warm, and yeah, there's a definite difference in him too," said Bonnie Harmsen.
The Harmsens say they have quite a few people to thank for helping them try to find Jasper. That includes the Waukesha-based organization "Lost Dogs of Wisconsin" which helped track the dog's few reported sightings.