DuBOIS — The night of Tuesday, Feb. 11, started out just like any other weekday evening at the Treasure Lake home of Lenny and Yvette Covatch and their two young children, Layla and Reece.
Lenny Covatch had just let their 12-year-old beagle, Bentley, outside in their backyard around 7 p.m.
“Over the last year, we trained Bentley to go outside without a leash,” Lenny Covatch said. “Usually, what he did was sit at the door and either bark or tap on the window for us to let him back inside the house. I went to get something, my son was taking a shower, I come back, it’s usually a couple of minutes, he’s back at the door.”
But this time, there was no bark or tap on the window from Bentley.
Lenny Covatch went outside to look for Bentley, but he was nowhere in sight.
A short time later, Yvette Covatch arrived home with Layla, 10, who had gymnastics.
“We paced the place walking around thinking Bentley may have wandered over to the neighbor’s house,” Lenny Covatch said. “We looked for a good two hours and couldn’t find him anywhere.”
At about 10 p.m., the family was really worried and Yvette Covatch decided to post a message on her Facebook page, as well as the Treasure Lake Facebook page. Along with Bentley’s photo, she asked if anyone sees their missing dog to please let them know.
“He’s almost 13 and he’s out in the cold; it was in the 30s,” said Yvette Covatch, noting he’s never been in those kind of temperatures for an extended period of time.
The next morning, Wednesday, there was still no sign of Bentley so Lenny Covatch took a day off from work to walk around the woods in search of their beloved beagle. It started snowing at about 8 p.m. that night but the family received word from someone on Facebook who believed they saw Bentley trotting down the road by Bimini Lake.
“The Treasure Lake resident tried to get Bentley, but he just ran away from him,” Lenny Covatch said.
Again, they searched on foot for Bentley but couldn’t catch a trail.
“So that was crushing because we had to call the search off because the snow was still heavy and it was late,” Yvette Covatch said.
The weather forecast for Thursday showed temperatures were expected to get down into the teens and Friday was supposed to be close to zero degrees.
“I figured Thursday, I came home early from work, to give it another shot before it gets really cold and basically drove all around the area over there trying to find him in the woods or just happen to catch him coming across the road,” Lenny Covatch said.
Once again, though, there was no sign of Bentley.
Friday afternoon the family received another message from a woman who had seen him eating her cat’s food – this was not far from where Bentley was spotted on Wednesday.
Then another friend called Yvette Covatch to tell her that Bentley was just seen again near that same area.
“That night we went over there right away,” Yvette Covatch said. “From there it just escalated. By the end of the evening there were probably 50 cars driving around, people on foot, spotlight, a flair gun, a heat seeking gun. It was amazing – most of them complete strangers. We were humbled. I think people were putting themselves in our shoes.”
On Saturday morning, the family received a call from the State College Animal Rescue and a volunteer was going to come and set a humane trap to try and catch Bentley.
But the good news the family was waiting for finally came.
“Another Treasure Lake resident had made flyers and she had left them out, so I headed over to get them and was starting to put them up when we got the call that Bentley was found,” Lenny Covatch said. “People said they were going to organize to go out and meet at the parking lot at Bimini Lake. They said they found him close to Interstate 80.”
“He ended up being 3 miles from our house when they found him Saturday morning,” Yvette Covatch said. “It wasn’t far from the woods where he was. The man who found him said that he started to get frustrated because he heard the sounds from the road and started to see the road and when he turned around, Bentley was right there. And it looked like that’s where he had been for awhile hanging out.”
As soon as Bentley saw his family, he licked their faces, said Yvette Covatch, noting that was a true sign that he was ready for his adventure to end and wanted to come home.
Aside from being exhausted – he slept most of the day that Saturday and Sunday – Bentley returned home in good health; a visit to the veterinarian that next week confirmed that as well.
“He was totally fine. They gave us an antibiotic, he had a little tiny cut on his paw, but they said just in case that’s bothering him and we don’t want it to get infected,” Yvette Covatch said. “I think that his young demeanor helped him survive. He’s like a puppy.”
The Covatch family said they are extremely grateful for all of the people who helped search for Bentley.
“It takes a village, like the man who found him said, and we are very much giving credit to everybody that was so helpful,” Yvette Covatch said. “I mean these people don’t even know us and are searching for this little guy and now he’s a rock star. And I have 50 new Facebook friends. If he only knew how many people were loving him.”
The experience has also made the family appreciate their family dog even more.
“Sometimes you take them for granted becuase he’s just there and you’re busy with the kids, with work, with life,” Yvette Covatch said. “But you realize when he’s not there that’s a member of your family.”
Bentley’s 13th birthday on March 13 will be a wonderful celebration for the Covatch family.
“He was our first baby, basically,” Yvette Covatch said. “One of the main reasons we got a beagle is because they are good with kids. He’s beyond patient with the kids, that’s for sure.”
“He’s mischievous,” Lenny Covatch said.
“I think his nose gets him into trouble more than anything, honestly,” Yvette Covatch said.
When asked if Bentley will be kept on a leash from now on when he goes outside, the couple gave a resounding yes.
“His freedom days are over,” says Yvette Covatch.