After being separated for 10 days, a dog and his owner had a joyous reunion Wednesday night, but it’s a reunion that very nearly did not happen. It’s only thanks to the sharp eyes and quick action by a crew of a Coast Guard cutter that KC, a 13-year-old Boxer–Chow–Lab mix, is even alive.
Jodi Benchich says that KC disappeared on Feb. 24. He had been tied up outside for less than two hours, but when Behchich went out to check on him, she found that the rope had been broken and KC was no place to be seen.
“We dropped everything and started looking for him throughout the whole neighborhood,” she said.
He stayed lost until Monday, when the Bristol Bay a 140-foot cutter, spotted him on the icy surface of Lake St. Clair. Lake St. Clair straddles the border of Michigan and Canada. It’s a very cold place to be in the winter, even without a polar vortex covering the Northeastern United States.
The Bristol Bay was heading across the lake Monday to assist another ship stuck in the ice when the lookout spotted KC four to five miles off shore, surrounded by what appeared to be a small group of foxes. Three officers suited up and took a stretcher across the ice to rescue the dog. The foxes scattered as the people approached. The dog didn’t go anywhere; at that point, he couldn’t even walk.
“They noticed three burrows the dog tried to dig for itself for protection,” Chief Petty Officer Alan Haraf told the Detroit Free Press. “They said the paws were bleeding and the nails were pretty much down to nothing.”
When the crew brought KC aboard, he had no identification or indication that he had an owner other than a collar and a harness. Two names were proposed for him: Lucky and Cutter. The first one was chosen, and that’s the name most of the media used when reporting on the rescue. It was very, very appropriate, and will be for the rest of his life. According to Haraf, KC had probably been on the ice for a couple of days when they found him. Had he been there for much longer, his luck almost certainly would have run out.
The story of “Lucky” went out over the Internet, television, and social media, and that’s how Jodi Benchich found out what had happened to her beloved pet. On Tuesday, a friend called Jodi to say that the dog on the news looked a lot like KC. Wednesday night, she was reunited with KC at Wilson Veterinary Hospital where he was being treated for his wounds and frostbite.
“He’s tired,” said veterinarian Michelle Heyza. “He just wants to rest and be with familiar faces. He’s having a hard time walking. He needs his family. He needs his bed and he needs his people.”
And now he has them. Thanks to the crew of the Bristol Bay, KC will get to see his 14th birthday, coming up April 20. Our congratulations to them, to KC, and to his family.
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