Veteran’s dog runs off during fireworks, then days later smells his way back home

The Fourth of July was last week, and while it was a fun holiday for many Americans, it’s also unfortunately a day with a very high rate of runaway pets. Dogs get easily scared, run away and can’t find their way home again.

That was the case for one army veteran and his wife, who found their beloved dog was missing after the holiday. But now they’re reunited, thanks to a clever plan and their dog’s senses.

Tim Tamburello, an FDNY member and Iraq War veteran from New Rochelle, spent the evening of the Fourth of July searching for his dog, Tango, who ran off around 8 pm.

In a brief moment where Tango was off his leash, a neighbor started setting off fireworks, causing the Rhodesian Ridgeback to run off.

“We were taking the dog from upstairs to bring him out in the back to play in his pool with his toys, to put him on his leash and that’s when the loud bang went off,” Tim told CBS New York a day after Tango went missing.

Suddenly, Tim and his pregnant wife Dinorah were scrambling to find their dog.

“He took off running like out of nowhere,” Tim said. “I almost didn’t even see it. Next thing I know, she was screaming for him and that was the last I saw of him.”


Losing Tango devastated Tim, who formed a close bond with the dog.

“It’s almost like therapy, you know,” he said. “Me and him just go for long walks and to the beach and the woods, and it just really, you know, he gets to my soul. I love him with all my heart.”

“We just want him home safe.”


The family spent days searching for Tango, putting up fliers everywhere. They were pleading for any help they could get to find their dog—and got it, thanks to Newport, Long Island woman Sheila Maher, who heard the story on social media and put them in contact with her neighbor, Kelly Brach.

Brach is a professional pet tracker, who uses her own dog, Enzo, to track down runaways. Enzo got Tango’s scent through a blanket, and was able to track his location: Tango was hiding near a lake three miles away.


 Now it was a matter of luring Tango back home, so they hung a trail of items with their home’s scent—hung high in order to catch the wind and travel.

Incredibly, it worked: Tango used his sense of smell to follow the trail home. “Sure enough, he was laying right there on the steps,” Tim told CBS New York.

While Tango lost a few pounds and has bruised paws, he’s otherwise in good shape and ready to make a full recovery. His family was thrilled to finally have him home.

“He was so happy to see us, and the same thing, we were so happy to see him,” Tim said. “It was unbelievable.”


It’s a happy ending all made possible thanks to the help of some thoughtful strangers—and the power of a dog’s nose.

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