Ken Adelung, 83, a retired printer, was hospitalized after a fall in his home. He was worried because his son, Jeff, hadn’t visited for days; a search was underway for the family’s missing dog, Roscoe, a 12-year-old beagle-pug mix, or “puggle.” The dog ran off when a door was left ajar while furniture was being removed from the family’s Bergen Point home.
On Wednesday, October 3, after a five-day search, Jeff Adelung was ready to finally break the news that Roscoe, who was “like an appendage” to his widowed father, was gone.
In a phone conversation with his brother, Jeff agreed to break the news to his father. Twenty minutes later, Jeff received a call saying that Roscoe had been rescued from an underground holding tank at a pump station on 5th Street. He’d been trapped 10 feet below ground, clinging to a large pipe flange extension. Firefighters used specialized equipment to perform a confined-space entry, according to Bayonne Fire Chief Keith Weaver.
“Man, he’s a tough little bastard,” Ken told Jeff when he heard the news that Roscoe had been missing for five days and found in a pump station. “I want to thank you for not telling me because if you told me I would have left here and tried to find him.”
Jeff Adelung gave the dog to his father 12 years ago after his mother died. Six years later, Roscoe went missing for the first time. Wandering off is a typical trait of beagles, which are hunting dogs bred to follow their keen sense of smell wherever it takes them. In that case, it was a tree of all places.
“I had to cut the branches of the tree down because he was climbing it,” Jeff said. “He’s a loving little guy but he’s a rascal. Roscoe is the Houdini of dogs. He has the stubbornness of a pug and the determination of a beagle.”
Roscoe went missing on Friday, September 28, coinciding with Ken Adelung’s hospitalization and the sale of his longtime home in Bergen Point. Dozens of neighbors participated in the search. Jeff said that one woman went out every night at 2 a.m. calling Roscoe’s name. Meanwhile, Jeff and his brother hounded social media to get the word out, and Jeff hit the streets every night with a squeaky toy hoping Roscoe would hear it.
“I saw that I might have lost Roscoe, but I found something very special in everybody who was looking for him.” — Jeff Adelung
“It’s quite a miracle that he was found, given that he fell in that ten-foot water hole and was hanging on the ledge,” Jeff said. “He was also attacked by two large dogs, so he has a large gash on his back.”
This particular missing-dog ordeal is the last the Adelung family will experience in Bayonne. Ken worked all his life in the city. After retiring, he worked at the gift shop at Newark Liberty International Airport until becoming immobilized last year. Due to his condition, he is moving to a retirement home closer to Jeff’s home in Brick. Jeff moved out of Bayonne at age 17 when he joined the U.S. Air Force after attending St. Peter’s Prep.
The search for Roscoe left the Adelung family with one of its fondest memories of Bayonne.
“I learned something about the altruism of the average person,” said Jeff Adelung. “I saw that I might have lost Roscoe, but I found something very special in everybody who was looking for him. It’s a great thing about Bayonne. It’s changing, but there’s still an indomitable spirit. There are still a lot of good people in Bayonne. I mean, there was a woman looking for your dog at two in the morning. That says something.”
Rory Pasquariello can be reached at email@example.com