Unsung Hero #297

Richard Epstein is a longtime Westporter (and dentist, Norwalk Symphony and chamber group musician, and classical music host on WPKN-FM.)

But today he writes about animals. Richard says:

Thirty years ago, when I had my dental office in my Red Coat Road house and the patients had a view of the backyard, one of them looked at me and asked, “Is that your pig?”

It wasn’t.

But the Westport News reported on the incident. Here’s that story:

The other day, he had another excellent encounter with Animal Control.

he and his wife Ina recently put down their beloved dog Pippa, due to kidney disease.


During the last 6 months of her life, the Epsteins got her a companion.

Winter — a fluffy little 3-year-old miniature schnauzer mix — kept Pippa happy.


After Pippa was gone, Richard learned of Gypsy: a 3-year-old spayed Pomeranian/husky mix at PAWS (the Pet Animal Welfare Society).

Richard, Ina and Winter all loved her. They adopted Gypsy on the spot, and brought her home.


Yet within half a second of entering the house, she turned tail — leash and all — and raced down the driveway.

She took a left into traffic on Wilton Road, zipped under the bridge and onto the entrance road to the Merritt Parkway and Westport Weston Family YMCA.

Richard ran after her, “at a pace I have not maintained in years.”

Suddenly, he says, several drivers stopped their cars. They barricaded the ramp, and ran out to help catch Gypsy.

One man — who Richard later learned is a Y lifeguard — followed the dog on his electric bike.

Winter reversed course, running across a neighbor’s yard. Richard and others leaped stone walls, trying to follow on foot.

Gypsy was faster than them all.

Animal Control and the Westport Police were called. Richard thought of the pig, 30 years ago.

Dog Gone Recovery” was also called. They sent members from both nearby and far away.

But by the time Richard returned home at 11 p.m., his dog was still gone.

He and Ina went to bed sad and worried. Their concern was magnified at 4 a.m., when thunderstorms woke them. They thought of the poor lost animal, in the rain.

Finally, 20 hours later, Recovery volunteers — who had driven from Canton, near Hartford, to help — used rotisserie chicken to lure Gypsy into a crate.

They returned her to PAWS.

Gypsy, recovered.

“I grew up in Westport, in the days when we knew all our neighbors,” Richard says.

“But this experience makes us grateful that after 40 years on Red Coat Road, we can still count on people nearby to help out when it is needed.”

The Epsteins will wait a while before getting a companion for Winter. They’ll make sure it’s not a “runner.”

In the meantime, Richard says, “we are so grateful to the many unsung heroes who joined in the search: PAWS, Dog Gone Recovery, Damian McCallum from the YMCA, Lisa from Weston and her Mini Cooper convertible, Kate down the street, Westport’s Police and Animal Control, and the many neighbors who watched vigilantly and helped us finally recover Gypsy.”

They returned the adoption fee back to PAWS. They’re making a donation to the Dog Gone Recovery Network.

Meanwhile — if you have a fenced-in yard — Gypsy is still available.

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5 responses to “Unsung Hero #297

  1. Community. Community. Community.

    Love this. Thanks for the good news, Dan.

  2. Hmmmm. Perhaps the name Gypsy was a harbinger of things to come.

  3. The “part husky” part was revealing. They run. When I see husky owners I always ask how the dog does off the leash. Always gets a laugh. We had a husky for 14 years, and he was an escape artist.

  4. I almost bought your house in 1982. A 75 year old barn at the time.

  5. It’s the Epsteins who are the unsung ones here, I think.
    Thanks for caring so much about all your dogs, including little Gypsy…BTW, can we still use the name “Gypsy.” Thought that one went down along with all the other colorful, fun to use words.

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