Hope restored: Tallahassee attorney’s guide dog returned after 2-day scare

Hope is John Eagen’s third guide dog since he lost his sight over 30-years ago, and he said they’ve formed a connection unlike one with an average pet.
Published: Feb. 21, 2022 at 1:17 PM EST
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - After nearly two days apart, Tallahassee defense attorney John Eagen was finally reconnected with his guide dog Hope.

The golden Labrador has been with Eagen for three years now, playing the important role of his eyes. Hope is Eagen’s third guide dog since he lost his sight over 30-years ago, and he said they’ve formed a connection unlike one with an average pet.

“You think about how close we are because we’re together 24/7,” he said.

Their bond was briefly broken on Super Bowl Sunday, Feb. 13, when Eagen said he called out to Hope.

“Maybe 12:30, maybe close to 1, I came in and I found Willie and I was talking to him. And then I called her, but she didn’t answer,” he said.

Eagen continued the search upstairs in his home, and even outside, but still Hope was nowhere to be found. That’s when Eagen called the police department and had several friends reach out on social media to inquire if anyone had seen her.

Unfortunately, their call for Hope’s return went unanswered.

“It was a very long Sunday and very hard. And probably one of the worst nights I’ve had in a very long time,” said Eagen.

He told WCTV at one point, someone opened his front door as they claimed to be “returning his dog.” However, Eagen said the person used the name of a guide dog that he no longer has, and shared that he was unaware his door was even unlocked.

Eagen said he believes that individual might have lured Hope out of the home, or might have created an opportunity for her to slip out. Nonetheless, she was missing, and Eagen was distraught.

“You’re giving your life over to them and trusting that you’ll get wherever you’re supposed to get safely and not walk into anything, and to lose that is like being, losing your eyesight all over again,” he said.

After nearly 48-hours, finally, the call he had been praying for came.

“Mavis Brakes on North Magnolia found her and took her into the office, and they took care of her.”

A Facebook post by Buck Savage with photos of Hope began to make the rounds on social media. According to the post, and Savage — whom WCTV spoke with on the phone — workers at Mavis said Hope was dodging traffic near the shop when they took her in.

One of the workers named Austin took Hope home for the night and cared for her before she was picked up on Valentine’s Day and returned to Eagen. Tearfully, he said there are just a few good Samaritans left, sharing that he was worried someone would have tried to keep Hope for themselves.

But thanks to the good people at Mavis, and the outpouring of support from the community, Hope was not only returned to Eagen, but restored as well.

“It’s hard for me to even talk about it, you can tell. I’m happy now, so these are tears of joy more than anything else,” he said.

Hope was returned unharmed according to Eagen. He also said that it took her a few hours to settle back into the home but they are back to their daily routine.

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