« Continue Browsing

e-mail article Print     e-mail article E-mail

Maureen McMullen, Published January 24 2014

Montana man hopes to continue his search next week in Casselton area for Oliver

CASSELTON, N.D. – John Kellems said he hopes to return here by the middle of next week to continue the search for Oliver, his 4-pound service dog who went missing Jan. 3 after they were involved in a rollover accident on Interstate 94 near here.

Kellems stayed in Casselton after the accident, accompanied by hundreds of volunteers who showed up each day to help search for Oliver.

He returned to his home in Montana on Tuesday after last weekend’s final search yielded inconclusive information.

“I plan on just trying to get some of my resources together and come back because I feel like I need to be there,” Kellems said. “I feel like if I’m searching for him, then that will relate to his attitude and fight to survive and finding me.”

Kellems said he needed to return to Montana to catch up with his work as a contractor and spend time with his family. He has a son serving in the U.S. Navy and a 19-year-old daughter who attends college in Montana.

“As a contractor, it’s a matter of coming back to manage finances and getting personal affairs in order so the family can function without one of the members being there,” he said.

“It’s really important for them to be able to talk to me and express their concerns.”

Though Kellems received a report from a truck driver of an early morning siting last week, searchers have yet to find new evidence leading to Oliver’s whereabouts.

Support for Kellems flooded in from the time of Oliver’s disappearance through the Facebook page “Have you seen Oliver?,” and through financial donations, cards from children and support from surrounding communities and states as far away as Ohio and California.

“I think anyone that’s had any involvement still has their eyes open, us included,” said Audrey Gunderson, an employee at the Casselton Tesoro station. “People like to help people.”

While Kellems said he appreciates the support, he’s hoping to give Oliver a chance to “calm down.”

“I’ve actually quieted down the Facebook page only because I’ve had a tremendous amount of support, but I also don’t want to ruin the chances of me finding Oliver,” he said. “I’m trying to establish the patterns that he has.”

Despite the temporary halt in his search for Oliver, Kellems said he still believes his dog is alive and that he “won’t ever quit” looking for him.

“I don’t even feel like I’m home,” said in a phone call from his home in Great Falls, Mont. “I’ve had my share of hard times – we all have – but Oliver’s been right by my side through a lot of sleepless nights. In a lot of ways, he’s the one who continuously rescued me. I’ll keep the promise that I’ve made to him because he’s always been there and he’s always on my mind.”

For more information, go to www.facebook.com/LOSTDOGFARGO.