Saturday, March 19, 2011



For many people pets become treasured members of the family, so when they are lost it can be extremely stressful as tragic endings are common. Often, after searching high and low, placing fliers in public places and checking shelters families are forced to give up hope of ever seeing their furry, feathered or scaled friends again and imagine the worst has happened to them out in the world on their own.

However, in some cases, the will of the lost animal to return to its family is too strong to give up, and against all odds, they find their way home no matter what it takes. Call it luck, determination, the power of love or a mix of all three; here are 10 inspiring examples of happy reunions of lost pets and their families ...

1. Giggle-Blizzard the Cat

Giggle-Blizzard — say that three times quickly. Without laughing. They say that cats have nine lives, but they only have four legs, and the ineffable Giggle-Blizzard managed to travel home two legs down over the course of what must have been an agonizing 11 days. The cat’s owner, Tracie Steger, put up posters all over her area and organized search parties to find her beloved cat, but to no avail. She heard stories of a car hitting and killing a cat in her area, and saw a vulture with a whisker protruding ominously from its beak. Neither of these victims turned out to be Giggle-Blizzard; he was way too much of a badass.

It turns out the feisty feline had had its back legs crushed by a car, but in what must have been an extreme example of ‘pfft’ he dragged his mangled body all the way home to his still-hopeful mom. It’s uncertain exactly how far Giggle-Blizzard traveled, but given the fact that it took him 11 days to return it’s likely it was quite the trek. Down two legs, and who knows how many lives, the Florida cat somehow arrived home on Thanksgiving night.  After two operations, he's back in Steger's menagerie, sporting Christmas-colored splints.  It cost $3,000, but Steger can't contain her joy.
2. Moon the Siberian Husky

If there’s any breed of dog that would be able find its way home over rugged terrain and great distances, it would be the Siberian husky. The only other dog that would even come close is Muttley from the Hanna-Barbera cartoon Wacky Races, but he gets about in a racecar, making it a contentious issue. In saying that, there are many detractors of Moon's greatness who insists that the only way the dog could have found his way to his home in the town of Ely, Nevada would be to hitchhike. Their speculation stems from the fact that Moon traveled a staggering 77 miles to find her way home to his owner, Doug Dashiell.

Dashiell had taken his three dogs on a trip and on the way back, at Railroad Valley, briefly let them out of his truck to stretch their legs and do their business, when Moon suddenly bolted. After hours of fruitless (or dogless) searching, Dashiell was sure he would never see Moon again. Dashiell was wrong. Amazingly, Moon managed to travel the distance back to Ely. The dog crossed desert, the White River, and the Ward Mountain ranges. Dashiell postulates that she probably survived for the week she was missing by feasting on rabbits, although he also mentioned that she absolutely stank of skunk when she finally arrived home. 

3. Kuzya the Wondercat

It’s hard not to feel bad for the other animals here when you realize how badly Kuzya (henceforth Kuzya the Destroyer) has trounced them all. Kuzya ran away from his owners, the Efremovs, when they took him with them on vacation from their native Olenyok to Yakitsk in eastern Russia. In Soviet Russia, cat loses you! They searched for the cat for weeks, but eventually were forced to return home without little Kuzya the Destroyer in tow. But three months later the Regnum news agency reported that the cat turned up on the doorstep, tired and thin but otherwise healthy. One of the Efremov family said: "He is nervous now about going outside - and always seems to be looking for a safe hiding place."

It took the Destroyer an entire three months to find his way home to his family. If that sounds like a long time, consider this: Kuzya the Destroyer traveled 1,300 miles across Siberia to finally reach his family, crossing woods, rivers, and lakes. When he finally arrived home, his only problems were a few bite marks on his tail, a bit of weight loss, and the fact that his claws were worn down to nothing, probably from slapping around too many predators. Kuzya is a poster-kitten for awesomeness.

4. Sage the German Shepherd

Sage the German Shepherd didn’t travel very far in comparison. She did, however, do it with a stomach full of shotgun shrapnel, which is amazing. After she went missing on his huge 40-acre property for over a week, her owner, David Lechan, didn’t hold out much hope that five-year-old Sage would make it home. It was common for Sage to go wandering around on Lechan’s huge property in search of adventure, but she was unfailingly there waiting for him at his doorstep when he arrived home from work. On December 2nd, 2009, she wasn’t.

It’s unclear why she was shot or by whom, but luckily, Sage made the trek home despite her grave injuries. Lechan said that dogs like Sage go into something called “wolf mode,” a state where their body shuts down and allows them to muster all of their strength and avoid becoming exhausted, even without food. “The only reason that she did come home was her devotion to me because we are pretty much inseparable,” said Lechan of his faithful pet. It took seven days for Sage to recoup enough energy to make the journey home, bouncing back from the sort of trauma that would stop most humans in their tracks. “I came home from work Wednesday afternoon, I walked in the barn, and there she was. She stood up, looked at me, took two steps, and fell down,” said Lechan. Sage is now back at home where she belongs and is expected to make a full recovery.

5. Skittles the Cat

Skittles the cat may not taste like a rainbow (though it’s hard to be sure), but he definitely traveled from one end of it to the other to be reunited with his family. His owners, the Sampsons, lost Skittles while they were vacationing in the Wisconsin Dells for Labor Day, 350 miles from their home in northern Minnesota. While they were packing up to leave, they realized they couldn’t find Skittles anywhere. After some frantic searching, they were forced to give up and return home. Because of the distance between their home and the area where Skittles was lost, the Sampsons weren't optimistic about being reunited with their feline friend.

There was one false alarm when a cat who strongly resembled Skittles appeared at their door, meowing to be let in. After an initial burst of joy, the Sampsons sadly realized that the cat was in fact “M&Ms”, a kitty belonging to the neighbors across street, who bore a striking external resemblance to Skittles despite being a completely different candy cat on the inside. It took the real Skittles 140 days to return home across a distance of 350 miles. When he arrived home, Skittles’ paws were raw and his ribs were actually protruding from his body. His owners declined to rename him “Skeletor” and nursed the cat into a full recovery.

6. Jarvis the Jack Russell

Jarvis the Jack Russel doesn’t just have a clever name, he also knows how to use one of the most obscure forms of public transport: the ferry. His owner, Vivienne Oxley of Devon, England, lost Jarvis while she was out strolling the Cornish countryside with her granddaughter. Jarvis, realizing that he was a bit too awesome for the situation, ran off in the bushes for an adventure while his owner searched for him. After an entire two hours of searching, Vivienne gave up and returned home to Devon.

Jarvis, however, was not really lost. He was just hanging out for a while, partying with the woodland creatures. When he was done showing them how to kick it Terrier style, Jarvis decided it was time to return home, and settled on the ferry as the optimal form of transport back to Devon. Jarvis was caught without a ticket but managed to avoid paying the fine by using the classic ‘I am a dog’ excuse.  Luckily, Mrs Oxley, got a call to say a dog like Jarvis had been seen on the ferry they had taken across Plymouth Sound to reach Cornwall. Minutes later, puzzled husband Tony rang to say Jarvis had turned up at home alone – having trotted the 3km from the ferry at Cremyll. Mrs Oxley said: 'I rushed home and there he was, sitting in the window wagging his tail as if nothing had happened.'

7. Max the Airedale Terrier

Max the Airedale Terrier travelled an amazing distance to return to his loving owner, crossing harsh terrain and managing to not get eaten by predators. Two-year-old Max was lost when his owner’s convertible was involved in an accident in Sterling, Connecticut. Bill Clark’s car was struck by another vehicle and in a moment of panic Max ran from the back seat of the car, through the trunk, and off into the woods. After returning home to Coventry, Rhode Island, Clark launched a search campaign for Max that spanned weeks, but to no avail. There were many sightings, but no luck.

Then, one Tuesday, Clark returned home to find Max sitting in his back yard, having found his way home from 45 miles away, crossing the state line while having to avoid any toll roads entirely due to his lack of change and the pockets in which to keep it. Upon examination from a vet, Max was discovered to have no injuries whatsoever, and the only mark of his nearly month-long journey was weight loss. “He lost 11 pounds,” said owner, Bill Clark. “I lost seven.” Calm down, Bill – it’s not a competition.

8. Dusty Simon the Beagle

Dusty Simon sounds like the name of some sort of folk-blues-country singer from the 50s, conjuring up images of the lone traveler, bedraggled-yet-wise, making his way through the countryside, his guitar slung over his back and the soles of his boots worn to the leather. Perhaps this is what the real Dusty Simon’s caretakers were thinking of when they named the pooch, who was often seen wandering casually around their subdivision — a stray despite his pure breeding. Dusty Simon had become a great friend to the residents of the subdivision, especially the children, and was a familiar sight and staple member of the community until he suddenly disappeared for several weeks. The subdivision’s residents searched ceaselessly for Dusty, but failed to find the lost Beagle. After two weeks of searching, the neighborhood’s hopes were beginning to dim.

One afternoon, Amanda Ramey, who was particularly close with Dusty, returned home to find the dog lying in her front yard. Unlike some of the luckier animals on this list, poor Dusty was a little worse for wear: his back legs were broken and his pelvis was severely fractured. Vets hypothesized that Dusty had been hit by a car and had dragged himself for several miles using only his front paws and determination. The surgery bill to reinstate Dusty to his former glory was estimated at $2,000, and the community happily banded together to pay for his full recovery. Viva la Dusty!

9. Smokey the Cat

A cat that was shot 13 times in the head with an air rifle has remarkably survived the ordeal. Smokey, had gone missing from his home in Maryborough in Victoria, Australia, for over a week. His owners were distraught and did whatever they could to try and find their lost nine-year-old moggie. If they knew the horrors that were being inflicted upon their poor pet they would have been even more panic-stricken.

Sergeant Craig Pearse from Maryborough police said it appeared Smokey's memory was not affected by the attack as the animal was able to find its way home. "This is just a shocking incident where someone either working alone or in a group has shown no regard for animal life and left Smokey for dead,'' Sgt Pearse said. Despite his severe injuries, Smokey managed to travel all the way to his front doorstep. Smokey has been heavily medicated and is recovering at home after a vet removed the gun pellets from his head.
10. Jack the Whippet-Terrier Cross

In a story reminiscent of 1940s film Lassie Come Home, a family who had given up their whippet-terrier cross Jack for dead looked outside to find him asleep on their doorstep. The mongrel dog – exhausted and sore-pawed, but very much alive – had walked 15 miles along an unfamiliar route, apparently untroubled by obstacles including a four-lane bypass and one of the country's busiest motorways. The dog's bravery is all the more remarkable for the fact that he suffers from a fear of traffic, and walks with a limp, after being knocked down by a lorry five years ago. Jack was lost by his owners, David Cooper and his wife Liz, while they strolled through Dearne Valley Park, 15 miles away from their home in Penistone (yes, Penistone) near Sheffield, England. Jack was spooked by other dogs and scurried into the woods. Mr. Cooper said: "He had been missing for a day-and-a-half and we'd all but given up. We'd had dozens of friends and neighbours out looking for him but decided to call off the search. On a whim, I had one more look outside the back of the house just in case he had returned. I glanced down through the window of the door and did a double take, because there he was."

From what the Coopers have managed to piece together from people who spotted Jack on his circuitous adventure, Jack had to cross four major roads and a four-lane highway – facing his doggie fears head on – as well as miles of dangerous moorland.  Mr Cooper said: "We really have no idea how he got across. There are a couple of pedestrian subways, but he would have no idea where they were so it's possible he just made a dash across the traffic." The final leg of his journey took him a few miles north to his owners' home, where he curled up in a ball on the back doorstep. Mrs Cooper, said: "I’ve asked all my colleagues at work if they can tell me how dogs can navigate when they’ve never been somewhere before, but they’re just as baffled as me. Everyone thinks it’s quite amazing.” Jack is now recuperating with the help of Coopers' two sons Adam and Rob. Mr Cooper said: "We bandaged his legs but he's out walking again now, although he is staying a little closer."


No comments:

Post a Comment