Yesterday, I visited some trail cams that I don't check that often. I didn't check all the memory cards right away but the first one I looked at had photos of a small dog (without human accompaniment) on them. I know someone who has dogs that looked like the one on the cams so I zapped her an email with the photos. I jokingly said in my email that her pups had been taking "road trips".
This was the first photo a little after midnight on 6/14. I saw this one first (yesterday morning) and sent it to the owner.
After hearing that her dog was actually missing, I went through the thousands of photos on my memory cards with an eye to detail. Most of the thousands of photos were of this little dog walking back and forth over a half mile stretch over a 24 hour period on 6/14.
He walked that trail section all night until sunrise on 6/14.
Then, thank goodness, I think he laid low during the heat of the day, reappearing in the evening of 6/14.
To be honest, I knew that a bobcat had come through around that time so I didn't think that the dog was alive. However, I'm not one to give up hope too quickly.
This morning, I asked the owner for a photo of her dog so I could spread the word via social media that he was missing. A close friend of mine saw my post, and she called with the idea that she and I go search for him today. The owner could not get out of work today.
By the time I was ready to go search (after R's 20 million exercises), it was hot, and my energy was lagging. But my friend's enthusiasm spurred me to go. She was on foot, and I was on my bike. We both did the same loop but in opposite directions. When we met in the middle, we agreed that she'd go home, and I'd search just a bit more in a new direction where I have no trail cams because no large wildlife goes there. We thought it was a failed search.
After we parted, I rode only 1/2 mile in the new direction when I came upon the dog lying in the middle of the trail. He was not moving, initially didn't register my presence, and was covered in flies. I was sure he was dead and said "Oh, Bounder" really sadly. He heard me, and his eyes flicked toward me. I freaked out - he was ALIVE!
I'll be honest - I had a minor panic/surprise/upset attack before I did anything useful for him. When I'd pulled myself together, I went over, talking to him, and noticed that he even smelled like death. I swatted all the flies off of him, and I got water on my fingers. He licked them thirstily. We did that for a while, and then he lifted his head. I made a cup out of my hands and let him drink more water from my hands. He was SO thirsty.
I lost all track of time so I don't know how long the two of us sat in the middle of the trail. I checked my cell phone which had the lovely words "no service". I gathered myself, lifted up the fairly small dog under my arm, and pushed my bike with the other arm. I stopped every 5 minutes or so looking for cell service because my spine was not going to allow me to carry the dog all the way to civilization.
Finally, I had cell service and texted my friend. As I sat there waiting to see if it went through, I took a photo of the dog standing for the 1st time! He'd been lost in the woods where there are NO water sources for 5 days. And, he's an elderly epileptic who hadn't had his anti-seizure meds for all that time, yet he was spunky enough to stand.
My friend came running after she got my text. Thank goodness because my spine was giving out. And, the little dog couldn't or wouldn't walk. My spine was screaming so thank goodness for my friend. My friend had a backpack to carry this little guy up to her truck. We both felt like things were fairly touch-and-go until we sat in the shade giving him water while we called his owners. That was when he really showed us that he was ready to fight for his life.
The vet thinks he's going to be fine after lots of liquids, rest, and the resumption of his epilepsy med. I get a lump in my throat every time I realize that I helped save a life today, the life of a precious little dog who has an incredibly spunky heart.
Yes, there are miracles!