Ozzy, a grey goldendoodle, has been Sergeant Lori Bilyou’s lifeline since 2015 when she returned from a tour in Afghanistan with post-traumatic stress disorder and a brain injury.
So when he went missing a few months ago, Lori has moved heaven and earth to find him.
She’s spent thousands of dollars, refinanced her home, and during the two months searching for him, found eight other lost dogs. Of those eight, she’s returned seven to their families. But she still has not found Ozzy.
Ozzy suffered a grand mal seizure at her home in Delaware and became disoriented. He jumped over the fence in her backyard and ran away and Lori has been looking for him ever since.
Lori first met Ozzy in 2015 through K9 Navigators Assistance Dogs and he helped her through her recovery, becoming her mobility service dog. He aids her with walking and keeping her balance.
On the day he went missing, Lori had been in bed with one of her regular, debilitating migraines but she took Ozzy and her two Corgis into the backyard in the afternoon USA Today reports.
While outside, Ozzy began shaking; that’s when he jumped over the fence. It was completely unexpected as he had never jumped before, because of his training. But before Lori could reach him, he ran away.
Lori worries that Ozzy may be suffering from the effects of the seizure and is possibly blind or having memory issues.
Her son, Matthew, said he didn’t realize how much his mom depends on Ozzy until he went missing. “I thought she didn’t need him, but after he left, it got bad. It was like she was reverting back to the way she was when she first came home.”
The Bilyou family immediately canvased the neighborhood. They’ve posted flyers, set up a Facebook page, created videos and set up dog feeding stations with cameras across New Castle County.
The search efforts have come at a financial cost. The family has refinanced their home in order to keep searching. But Matthew says there wasn’t any question about spending the money.
“We were all willing to do it because we’ve got to. It’s also because my mom physically needs him. It’s a lot of work and money for a dog, but not for a medical necessity.”
Friends and family have pitched in searching for Ozzy, with possibly sightings of the dog in Newark and south western Chester County, PA. the last possible sightings have been in the Bear area of Delaware.
During the search efforts, people have found eight dogs. “I like to think that Ozzy is collecting up all the strays before he comes home,” Lori Bilyou said.
The family asks that for anyone who thinks they’ve seen Ozzy to take a photo and send it to their “Ozzy phone” at 302-765-8694 or message them on Facebook. Although two months is a long time for Ozzy to be fending for himself, the family remains optimistic and hope he will be home with them for the holidays.