An abandoned Shih Tzu with a knack for survival that has been living on its own in Franconia for two years is now in good hands and is being looked after.
For the past several months, Animal Control Officer Enna Lugo has been on the trail of a tiny dog known by local residents as Biscuit, a Shih Tzu who had been surviving on his own for over two years in the Franconia community, according to Fairfax County police.
Biscuit’s origins are a mystery, police said. They have been told by some local residents that Biscuit’s owner had died and that he had been left to fend for himself. Others claimed that Biscuit’s owners had moved away and left him behind.
Biscuit got his name from neighborhood children, who routinely caught glimpses of him as he foraged for food or moved from one hiding place to another, police say.
Private citizens and rescue groups had already been trying to catch Biscuit for a long time when Lugo became aware of his situation, she said.
“Whenever I came to catch Biscuit, neighborhood residents would tell me the last place they had seen him,” she said. “Everyone tried to help get him off the streets.”
Lugo used several methods to try to catch him, including trapping and tracking, she said. “He would always find an escape route,” she recalled. “When we tried to trap him, he would lie next to the traps but he would never go inside.”
But on Saturday, Lugo enlisted some help and was determined to bring Biscuit to safety.
At around 8 a.m. on Saturday, when Lugo and her team arrived at Manchester Boulevard and Beulah Road, Biscuit was not in his “usual spot” under a residential patio.
Lugo was concerned that he had fled the area, she said. But he was soon spotted nearby, huddled in a nest of leaves where he had apparently made a bed.
Lugo, fellow animal control officers and volunteers surrounded him, where they quickly caught him with a net and transported him to a local veterinarian.
At the vet, Biscuit was sedated and shaved.
The local vet removed over 40 ticks and treated Biscuit for a skin infection, Lugo said.
Other than that, she said, he was found to be in good health and was estimated to be around 3 to 4 years old. “He seemed to know that his struggle was over and that he was in caring hands,” she said.
Lugo has now offered to foster Biscuit to help acclimate him to living in a house with human companions. Biscuit will be available for adoption after he has had some time to readjust, police say.
“Officer Lugo’s initiative and tenacity exemplify the Fairfax County Police Department Animal Services Divisions’ commitment to fulfilling our mission; her work ensured safety of the citizens of Fairfax County and the compassionate rescue of an animal in need,” said Tawny Hammond, Director of the Fairfax County Animal Shelter.
Lugo said she was happy and relieved at the final outcome. “I told the residents that even if it took me a year, I would catch Biscuit and get him to a loving home,” she said.