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Questions linger after dog never comes home following stay at Berlin kennel

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BERLIN – A Connecticut couple brought their dog to a Berlin kennel and went on a trip, but when they came back it made for a heartbreaking and unexpected return.

The day Jasmine and Geoffrey Story were supposed to pick up their dog Hambone from River Run Kennels, they learned he had died there a week before.

“He was part of the family and I treated him like he was my kid and now he’s gone and we don’t know why,” Jasmine said. “Our lives have stopped because we don’t even know what to do anymore.”

Jasmine said when she brought her dog to River Run Kennels on Saturday, May 14, she didn’t know that would be the last day she ever saw her dog.

She was scheduled to pick up the dog on Monday, May 23, but she never did because her mother-in-law called her that day to tell her that she just got a call from the kennel reporting Hambone died.

A notice from the vet shows that the dog passed away on Monday, May 16, one week before Jasmine said her mother-in-law, her fourth emergency contact, was called. The first three emergency contacts--including Jasmine and Geoffrey--were never called.

“We don’t know why she was ever contacted at all and why we were never contacted and still haven’t been contacted by them,” Jasmine said. “The kennel isn’t giving us any information, we asked to see his kennel card, that says when he ate and went outside and stuff and they aren’t giving us anything.”

Jasmine went to the kennel but she said she was asked to leave.

“Whether or not they did anything to be responsible for his death, he was in their care and you don’t treat the owners of the pet just like you wouldn’t treat the parents of a child, that way,” she said. “We have a right to know what happened just as if there was a child, you would be asking the same questions.”

The couple is desperate for answers to what happened to their precious dog, whose been in Geoff’s life since he rescued him about 10 years ago.

“We’re missing a member of our family and we don’t know how to move on from that especially when we’re not getting answers,” she said.

All they want is to be able to move on and grieve him properly, but they can’t do so until they have answers to their questions: Why were they never called? Why wasn’t the dog taken to their vet? Why can’t they see his records? And why did it take a week for anyone on their emergency contact list to be called?

River Run Kennels released a statement to FOX 61 Friday night:

We at River Run Kennels were honored to care for the Story's dog, Hambone. We are very sad that he passed away while staying at our kennel. He was with us for two days and appeared to be a happy, well fed, older dog. After he passed away, the Story's related to us that he had a history of seizures. It appears that he died peacefully in his sleep during the second night he was with us.

River Run Kennels has been in business for 17 years and thankfully we have a very loyal and trusting clientele. That loyalty and trust has been earned by the care we have provided to thousands of dogs over the years. We treat each dog as if they were our family pet. Hambone received excellent care while with us.

We appreciate the loss suffered by the Story's and hope that they find peace in the memories of their much loved pet.

But that doesn't change anything for Jasmine and Geoff.

“We weren’t given the option to have an autopsy or a cremation we were told we could have either or and when we found out that we could do both, when we came to our senses we said stop the cremation and we were told it's too late,” Jasmine said.

They were given the dogs ashes Friday and will place them at the window where he always sat.