BELGRADE — Priscilla Ormsby slept four of the past eight nights in a Prius C, parking in a field near the Sidney-Belgrade line.
She’s keeping vigil there, hoping to catch a glimpse of her runaway Rebel.
Rebel, a 12-year-old yellow Labrador, bolted Oct. 18 in the vicinity Willow Run Bed Biscuit & Bath in Belgrade.
A plan to use a dozen people to help corral him backfired, and Rebel headed for nearby woods, where he’s been seen intermittently over the past eight days.
Ormsby, 70, says it’s better that fewer people are looking for the dog she adopted eight years ago because he’s become much more skittish.
“As of this morning he was seen in the area, muddy but OK, so that gives me hope,” Ormsby said Friday afternoon as she paced up and down Mills Road, across Route 27 from Willow Run.
The search is intensifying because of the kickoff of firearm hunting season today and the threat of Hurricane Sandy next week.
Ormsby has been sleeping in her car in a field off Mills Road, and also spending a couple of nights at Willow Run and at the home of Dominic and Suzanne Patenaude, who own Sunset Pools, which is also on Route 27 in Sidney.
Ormsby said she hopes to travel to Italy next spring and wanted to begin acclimatizing Rebel to a kennel where he might stay. Now, things are on hold depending on what happens with the search.
“I’ve always had a dog,” she said. “The others all lived to a ripe old age. My last beagle was 19.”
Ormsby, who spent 37 years in banking, has put photos of Rebel and other contact information — including her phone number, 897-4974 — on Facebook’s Lost Pet Tracking Dogs page.
She’s talked to residents of the area, and enlisted friends to search and to provide moral support.
One friend stayed with her in her car for two nights.
“I told him in different circumstances, this would be romantic,” she said. Ormsby makes quick trips back home to care for her two cats. Her car gets 60 miles a gallon, “so that’s the plus side.”
But her overnight vigils are likely ending soon because they don’t seem productive, she said. She does plan to return each day until her dog is found.
“I’m a competitive race-walker, so I’m in pretty good shape, but I’m beginning to wear down,” she said Friday, her breathing sounding labored as she talked on a cellphone and hiked down a dirt road.
All the while, she kept a look out for Rebel.
Dominic Patenaude said neighbors have been putting food out for Rebel, but haven’t been able to catch him.
“He won’t come to anybody but the owner,” Patenaude said.
The Patenaudes also have been supplying Ormsby with warm drinks, food and blankets and have put her up for two nights. People from Willow Run have aided the search as well.
Ormsby has brought some of Rebel’s favorite things to try to entice him back.
“We’ve got his food. Dominic’s got Rebel’s bed. I’ve got my dirty laundry, which I’ve got a ton of,” Ormsby said. “Hopefully we’ll have a happy ending soon.”
Betty Adams — 621-5631