LITHIA — The beloved emu of Lithia couple finally made it back home on Thursday after it had been lost for more than a week.
Linda and Wayne Lohf's pet bird, Easter, somehow made it over a 4-foot fence on June 2 and had been roaming Hillsborough County. On Thursday afternoon a former military buddy of Wayne Lohf's saw stories of the missing bird swirling around social media and knew it was time to step up.
It was a lucky that friend, Doug White, is now a sergeant with the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office's agricultural crime unit.
"I spoke with Wayne yesterday," White said Friday morning, "and told him I'd send some of my deputies out to area to assist in locating Easter."
His team, which spends most its time checking up on farms and hoofed livestock, got a call from a rancher just a mile from the Lohfs' 6-acre property. He saw an emu in his cow pen.
White was soon on the phone, telling Wayne Loaf that they had a lead on where Easter might be hanging out and where he could meet a deputy to search together.
The deputy found Easter in a blueberry field.
They put the flightless bird on a pickup truck and headed back home to reunite him with the rest of his mob. (That's what you call a cluster of emus.)
The Lohfs have three other emus, which they got after Easter spent the first year of his life living alongside goats. They wanted him to have some friends.
On Thursday afternoon, Easter was able settle back into his spacious pen and put his head on Linda Lohf's shoulder. He loves to be patted.
"Linda ... raised him by hand since the day he hatched," said White. "Being part of the agriculture unit, I know how people feel about their animals and their pets. We wanted to do what we could to help."
Easter was tired, Linda Lohf wrote on her Facebook page, but he seemed to be in good health after his week on the lam.
Contact Sara DiNatale at [email protected] Follow @sara_dinatale.