Dillon the cat. (Photo courtesy of Lilah Larkin)

A nerve-racking account of love, loss and animal traps has a happy ending in Ridgewood Park and captures what everyone loves about East Dallas: teamwork, positive determination and an impressive devotion to pets.

Dillon is Lilah and Kevin Larkin’s black cat, and even though he is an indoor cat, he likes to sneak out when he can. One fateful night, he snuck out a bit beyond his ability to find his way home last month. When the Larkins noticed their missing feline, Kevin played back their security cameras to see Dillon run out the front door and into the neighbor’s yard.

The Larkins searched high and low, and were assisted by neighbors distributing flyers all over their neighborhood. When they called Bonnie Hale, pet detective (featured in the Advocate’s September edition), her hound tracked Dillon to the edge of a creek.

Neighbors who lived along the creek allowed Kevin, who was fortuitously well-prepared for the rescue mission, to set up animal traps and wildlife cameras along the creek help find their beloved pet. They became worried when they spotted a coyote and found cat remains along the creek. But a black cat was spotted on day nine by a neighbor, and cameras snapped pictures of the cat on days 12 and 13, giving the Larkins hope that they would find their pet.

Dillon is spotted in the middle of the night by the wildlife camera (Photo courtesy of Lilah Larkin)

On day 15, Kevin outfitted a trap with Dillon’s favorite salmon food on a neighbor’s deck, and when Lilah went to add some catnip to the trap, she saw Dillon in the cage, frightened and two pounds lighter after a fortnight in the wild.

Dillon, ecstatic to be home, slept on top of the Larkins all of her first night home, and has begun to gain back weight. The Larkins are thankful for such a caring and generous neighborhood, and credit the coming together of the neighborhood with the return of Dillon. One Ridgewood Park neighbor remarked, “We talk about Dillon at the dinner table more than we talk about the weather!”

Click to sign up for the Advocate's weekly news digest and be the first to know what’s happening in Lakewood/East Dallas.