German Shepherd, cemetery’s guardian angel, reunites with his worried family

Boh reunited with his owner: The German Shepherd frequently visited the Forest Lawn Cemetery, where he would help patrons deal with grief and even escort women from their cars.

When Boh, a 2.5-year-old German Shepherd from Lincolnton, North Carolina, went missing, more than just his immediate family, owners Tina Kennedy and Brad Beal, took notice.

You see, Boh has become something of a legend in his community; some might consider him to be the guardian angel of Forest Lawn Cemetery, a cemetery near his home.

“He just started going over to the graveyard and hanging out with the guys as they were working on the graves out here and he just kind of became a part,” Beal tells WCNC.com, explaining how his dog Boh became such a fixture at Forest Lawn. “He would walk the ladies from their cars to the office every morning. He’d console the families.”

Before Boh went missing on February 28, he was seen making his normal rounds at the cemetery. He was wearing his black nylon collar, but his identification tags had fallen off, and Boh unfortunately did not have a microchip.

But it turns out Boh didn’t just wander off — something a bit more sinister seemed to be at play. A cemetery worker said he saw a blonde woman wearing scrubs grab Boh and put him in her car before driving away, that Boh was stolen, not lost.

When Kennedy and Beal posted a desperate plea for help on their “Bring Boh Home” Facebook page, hoping someone out there had seen Boh and knew he was safe, news of Boh’s disappearance went viral. Within mere hours, hundreds of people visited Boh’s Facebook page. People from the Lincolnton community and beyond started sending Kennedy and Beal messages, telling them how Boh had changed their lives.

“A man said ‘You won’t believe what your dog done for me. He’s helped me grieve through this process,” Beal says. “And we’re finding all this out on Facebook.”

Commenters on the page call Boh “God’s shepherd watching over loved ones gone, but not forgotten.”

The couple couldn’t believe how many lives their dog had touched, and knowing the comfort he brought to so many in turn brought Kennedy and Beal the comfort they needed.

“It’s heartwarming to know what we knew was special to us has turned out to be, or maybe to be, more special to some other people because he’s helping them through a hard time,” says Kennedy.

Meanwhile, the couple and Boh’s network of friends joined local authorities in searching for Boh and his mystery captor. A flurry of Facebook posts documents the leads Kennedy and Beal followed. A nearby animal hospital posted that someone brought in a dog matching Boh’s description to check for a microchip. When staff couldn’t find one, the woman said she planned to take the German Shepherd to a shelter. She declined to leave contact information before she took off.

Finally, thanks to some good detective work and an anonymous tip, Boh’s dognapper was found Thursday.

“No updates yet,” Beal posted March 6, “but they are going to arrest her as soon as she will open her door…[deputies] are outside waiting on her.”

While police had finally found the person responsible for snatching Boh from the cemetery that day, Boh was nowhere to be found. The woman, 36-year-old Dana Jacobs Hartness, claims that while she was on her way to a Greensboro, N.C. animal shelter, driving down Highway 73, Boh jumped out of her car.

While the investigation continues, authorities have charged Hartness with one felony count of larceny of a dog and one misdemeanor count of possession of stolen goods.

Meanwhile, knowing Boh was out there somewhere, the search continued. Thankfully, a post on Boh’s Facebook page and the Lost & Found Dogs of North Carolina Facebook page helped give Kennedy and Beal the lead they needed.

A woman in a nearby town found a German Shepherd outside in the rain and took him in, not knowing anything about Boh or his story. She posted a photo of the dog she’d found on the Lost & Found Dogs page, hoping someone would come forward with information. Within minutes, Boh’s many fans responded to the post. When Boh’s rescuer tried calling Boh by his name, Boh started wagging his tail wildly. It was clear to all — Boh had been found.

“What a blessing that Boh ended up in the hands of someone with such a big heart,” “Bring Boh Home” administrator Lynn posted Thursday night. “She probably doesn’t realize it yet, but she is a HERO tonight!!”

When Boh and his owners were reunited, it was smiles and tears all around. Beal tells WCNC.com that while he’s hesitant to let Boh continue patrolling Forest Lawn Cemetery on his own after what’s happened, he does want all of Boh’s friends to know they can always come by the house and say hello.

Sources: Lost & Found Dogs of North Carolina Facebook page, “Bring Boh Home” Facebook page, WCNC.com

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