Column

Rally to find lost dog shows Killington’s resilience, power of community

By Victoria Gaither

How do you define a community?

Webster’s Dictionary defines a community as a group with shared values, interests, and goals. 

While that is true, the story of Arlo, the missing 1-year-old dog, and how the Killington community came together to bring him home to his owner, Joseph “Joe” Ceccacci, who was recovering in the hospital after being involved in a motor vehicle crash on Jan. 13, can rewrite a new definition. 

First off, add the word fighters. When Arlo got scared and ran off into the woods near Winterberry Road on Route 4, Killington jumped in action. Arlo was missing, and he needed to come home.

The Killington Locals’ Facebook page lit up with posts telling people to look out for the missing pitbull mix dog. The news media in Burlington was contacted and reported the story. An off-duty police officer hiked into the woods to find Arlo.

Plus, motorists parked their cars that night and started walking the woods looking for Arlo, calling out for Arlo, and searching for the dog.

At that point, Arlo became Killington’s dog, and they would fight to find him. 

Killington was focused, determined, and never gave up on Arlo because to give up on Arlo was giving up on themselves, and quitting isn’t in this definition.

To give up wasn’t an option because, as locals will tell you, ‘This is Killington,’ we stop at nothing to help our friends, family and Arlo. 

Ceccacci’s crash happened due to black ice on the road that night, and while he was being rushed to the hospital, Arlo was alone in the woods, probably scared, hungry, and frightened. 

It was cold that night and people on social media and around town that evening said Arlo is tough. He will make it through the night and probably hunker down next to a tree. 

Killington saw the bravery in Arlo because it was in them as a community. So we can add that word to the new definition. 

But to be brave is to be fearless, and Killington saw no fear in this situation and only a gut feeling that Arlo would return to them. During those two days, volunteers walked near the accident site and Gifford Woods State Park searching the woods for Arlo.

Some with dog treats, slim jims and water hoping to find him safe and well.

Never losing hope on Sunday, a detailed plan was posted on the Killington’s Local Facebook page —a game plan to find Arlo by a dedicated group of 30 people, including the Killington community. 

Meanwhile, Ceccacci was awake and alert at Rutland Regional Medical Center, but still injured and in pain. He was asking for Arlo — his missing buddy, his boy.

Ceccacci and Killington didn’t know that Arlo was just as determined as they are to come home.

He could never stay away too long from Joe. 

To find his Joe was to help bring healing to a guy that people cried over and sent well wishes, even as far away as Canada. 

That’s also the thing about the Killington community. It’s like an octopus with long tentacles, people hearing the story of Joe and Arlo near and far.

On Sunday night, while new fliers of Arlo were being distributed and donations picked up, Arlo was spotted at Killington Deli on Route 4.

A good samaritan recognized Arlo and called the flier’s phone number; it was true Arlo was safe.

Immediately Joe was called to give him the best news; his boy was coming home!

A three-day ordeal changed the definition of community all through a dog named Arlo, the love of a community, and Joe’s strength. 

This is Killington.

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