Rachel LoFaso didn't live to see the promise fulfilled that her family would foster a dog this summer.
But Jennifer Mogensen, Rachel's father's partner, kept the promise to Rachel, who died in a car crash Jan. 14, by picking up a 9-month-old Shih Tzu and Maltese puppy named Stormy from a rescue organization Friday morning.
Friday evening, the dog bolted from Mogensen on the patio of a Hamburg restaurant. She and Fred LoFaso, Rachel's father, have been combing the area for him ever since, she said.
In the summer of 2017, Mogensen promised Rachel that the family would foster a dog this summer. Recently, Mogensen's daughter reminded her mother of the promise.
Friday, Mogensen and her daughter met a transport in Batavia to pick up Stormy. That was also the day of a ceremony honoring Rachael and others with a commemorative stone in a garden at Iroquois High School. Mogensen said to LoFaso, "I hate to leave the dog at home," and he replied, "No, this is her dog. We need to bring him."
Stormy was found as a stray in Florida and fostered there by a member of Shih Tzu and Furbaby Rescue, a Georgia-based rescue organization, before being transported north to be fostered here. Mogensen has fostered and adopted dogs from the group before.
Friday evening, after the ceremony, LoFaso and Mogensen joined another couple for dinner on the patio of Alchemy Wine & Beer, 20 Union St., where they had dinner. When a band began to play, Stormy got restless, and Mogensen said that when she stood up to leave, he jumped off her lap and ran.
"I dropped my purse and shoes and ran after him," she said, running toward Buffalo Street until he went into a neighborhood and she and LoFaso lost him.
They searched until about 2 a.m. Saturday, and since then have returned several times to hand out fliers and put up posters. They also arranged to have 500 homes called by robo-call to spread the word about Stormy in hope of recovering the pup.
Stormy is all black except for a white chin. He was wearing a blue-and-white striped collar with a bow tie on it, but no tags. He is not microchipped, but is neutered.
Anyone who spots Stormy or has any information about him should call Mogensen at 310-6966 or the rescue group at 866-401-4357.