This amazing story will give hope to those whose beloved pets have gone missing. I’m thinking most recently of a blog I posted on a Shiba Inu who was released into the wild after the local humane society thought she was a coyote. If the dog in the video above can survive four years in the wild, there’s hope for the Shiba Inu, and many others.
Four years ago, Greg and Leigh Wilkinson’s shy mixed-breed dog, Teddy Bear, went missing as they were packing up from a canoeing trip in the Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge, in North Carolina. They searched doggedly for gut-wrenching days, which turned into weeks, months, and years. Despite knowing the area was home to plenty of wolves, bears, and alligators, they never completely gave up hope.
When yet another phone call came in that someone may have found Teddy, they braced themselves for another in a long series of crushing false alarms. But the description, and the photo they received on their fax, filled them with so much hope that they cried the whole way there, they told ENC Today. They were ecstatic when the dog at the end of their drive was really Teddy.
She had apparently survived by a combination of luck, guile, and an old man who lived in the desolate area near where Teddy got lost. He fed her scraps when he could. When he died, another man took over feeding her, according to ENC Today. But Teddy never let anyone get close enough to see her collar with tags (the collar eventually fell off somewhere after she lost weight).
This man realized the dog had had owners, and wanted to find them. But getting near Teddy was pretty much impossible, since she was so skittish. So he set up a humane trap, luring her closer and closer with food outside, and eventually food inside. Finally, one day, he caught her, and took her to the Dare County SPCA.
After going to the attic to find old records of lost dogs, an employee discovered that this might be Teddy Bear and called the Wilkinsons. You know the rest of the story.
Teddy immediately reclaimed her favorite spot, on the couch. During her lonely nights in the wild — more than 1,300 of them — Teddy had probably dreamed of that couch many times. And now everyone’s dream has come true. (And yes, Teddy has a microchip now.)
The name of the man who was able to apprehend her after all those years was not mentioned in the ENC story. But I hope the Wilkinsons were able to meet with him and give him the deep thanks he deserves for making their little family whole again.
(Thanks to my blog pal, Neil, over at the ever-splendorific Life With Dogs, for sniffing out this story.)