Missing leader dog found dead after long search in Lapeer County

Brinkley's body found weeks after dog's disappearance

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LAPEER COUNTY, Mich. - A leader dog that has been missing since late May was found dead Monday after a long search in Lapeer County.

"It is with a heavy heart that we report that the body of Leader Dog Brinkley has been recovered," Leader Dogs for the Blind said in a statement. "We would like to thank everyone, especially the Lost Dog Search Team of Michigan, for their tireless efforts in searching for Brinkley. Through this trying time those close to Brinkley have been comforted by the outpouring of support from both the Leader Dog and local communities."

Brinkley disappeared May 27 from a home in Almont, which is in Lapeer County.

Jackie McKeon said Brinkley was the teammate she desperately needed, but she only had her for 10 days before the dog ran away.

"I think I went more places in the last 10 days than I have in the last 10 months," McKeon said.

McKeon said she started losing her vision four years ago and through Leader Dogs for the Blind, she was paired with Brinkley.

But then, her new dog vanished.

When outside, McKeon kept the yellow Lab on a 40-foot tie-out, but it appeared a lawn mower cut the line, and McKeon had no way to know. She said another lawn mower might have spooked the dog.

"As soon as the lawn mower started, she took off," McKeon said. "I tried to run after her. I went down the middle of the street asking for help."

Search efforts were largely focused on the area south of where McKeon lives until police started receiving phone calls that Brinkley could have traveled north, near Van Dyke and Dryden.

Tracking dogs from Livonia came to help in the search.

"There's people in town here that have been out until midnight looking for her," McKeon said.

Brinkley was only 18 months old. She was quick and likely to be afraid of anyone she didn't know, so the search was difficult.

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