How Bobo, a missing emu, made it back to his Soddy-Daisy home

Contributed Photo by Hannah Pendergrass / Hannah Pendergrass, with her son, Henry, 4, sent this selfie to Leslie Holdman to let Holdman know her missing emu, Bobo, had been found safe nearby.

Bobo's big adventure is over.

A week after the 1 1/2-year-old emu went missing from the hobby farm where he lives in Soddy-Daisy, Bobo was reunited with owner Leslie Holdman about a half-mile away from home Monday afternoon.

(READ MORE: BOLO for Bobo: After July 4 fireworks, an emu is missing in Soddy-Daisy)

Bobo fled the farm the night of July 4 after becoming agitated by several nights of recreational fireworks in a subdivision that abuts Holdman's property on Old Thatcher Road.

Sunday, sisters-in-law Hannah and Holly Pendergrass, who live next door to each other on Dallas Hollow Road, posted a Facebook notice about a "big bird" that had wandered in. They didn't specify it was an emu.

"After Joe Exotic, we didn't want the wrong people trying to claim him," Holly Pendergrass said, referring to the Netflix show "Tiger King."

Hannah Pendergrass said she and her mother-in-law, Linda Pendergrass, were out feeding their farm animals Sunday evening when Linda told Hannah, "Hey, there's a weird creature up at the gate. Go see what it is."

photo Staff Photo by Lisa Denton / Leslie Holdman tries to keep up as Bobo the emu starts down a wooded hill on property belonging to the Pendergrass family on Dallas Hollow Road in Soddy-Daisy.

Hannah said she was surprised to come eye-to-eye with a 5-foot-tall emu, but when she opened the gate, "he walked right in."

Holdman said that's standard behavior for her curious emu. In social media posts asking nearby residents to be on the lookout for Bobo, she described him as "extremely friendly, almost scary friendly."

"I couldn't believe how friendly he was," said Holly Pendergrass, who met Bobo later in the evening. "He acted like he knew us forever."

(READ MORE: Chattanooga-area vets seeing more pets with anxiety as owners return to pre-pandemic life)

By the time Holdman could fetch him Monday afternoon, Bobo had retreated to the top of a wooded hill on the Pendergrass property, away from the 13 rescue goats, chickens, turkeys and guineas the Pendergrasses keep in their farmyard.

Holdman arrived with a small trailer hitched to her Saturn Vue to haul him home. "He's ridden in my car before," she said, "but he's too big for it now."

After vigorously rubbing his neck plumage in greeting, Holdman put Bobo on a short leash to lead him down the steep, rugged terrain, back to the driveway beyond the farmyard. He eyed the small pond, but Holdman tugged him past, promising to get out the water hose for him when they got home.

"He loves the hose, anything with water," she said.

Hannah Pendergrass said Bobo went "straight to the pond" for a drink when he came through the gate Sunday night: "He was thirsty."

She fed him corn, thinking he would eat "what any other bird would eat. He was hungry for sure."

The sisters-in-law said they were happy they could help give Holdman a happy ending with Bobo. Having him on the premises entranced their sons - Hannah's 4-year-old, Henry, and Holly's 13-month-old, Wilder.

"In all my years of taking in animals, I can't believe we found an emu," Hannah Pendergrass said. "It's never something normal like a dog or a cat."

(READ MORE: What to know about Soddy-Daisy, Tennessee)

Contact Lisa Denton at or 423-757-6281.