Here is a really unbelievable story about a dog finding its way home. My very good friend from grade school who has had a rough time of it this year - her mom passed away 2 weeks before her wedding - ALMOST lost her dog on friday… she sent this email yesterday to tell us all about it and it really seems miraculous that he came back. She lives on a large plot of land in Ohio and has not had a problem with it outside off leash (not a basenji). The search included the police and their human finding german shepard. I was surprised and happy to hear that the police got so involved with the search. For me, just knowing what she has already gone through and then reading this story had me in tears.
We have an unbelievable story for you (sorry, it's rather long)...
Early this afternoon, our Leonardo went out to "take care of his business." Jimmy opened the back door, let him out, and watched for a brief moment as Leonardo started up his usual patrol of the back yard. After sniffing around a little, Leonardo scampered off into the woods and disappeared from sight. Thirty minutes went by and Jimmy glanced outside to see if he was back. No sign of him yet. Another thirty minutes went by and still, Leonardo wasn't back. After another thirty minutes, Jimmy started to worry. He put on his heavy winter coat and boots and walked around the back yard calling his name. There was no sign of him. Jimmy checked the front yard, the side yard, the neighbor's yard - no trace of Leonardo. Finally, Jimmy decided he would cook a hamburger on the grill and lure the little guy back with the smell of the cooking beef. Even the smell of barbecued burgers in the middle of winter didn't bring Leonardo back. Jimmy was really worried by now, so he called me at work.
It had been more than two hours since Leonardo went out, so I was worried right away. Thirty minutes later, Leonardo still wasn't back, so I left work and drove home. On the way, I called the police to ask if they had received any reports of a dog running around the neighborhood. The dispatcher asked where I lived, and after I gave her my address, I listened in horror as she told me that one of our neighbors had called in to report that she had seen a black and white dog get hit by a car, and then run off into the woods.
I called Jimmy, who was already panicked, and gave him the awful news that our little Leonardo had been hit by a car, was likely severely injured and in pain, lying in the woods somewhere, freezing cold, terrified, and probably dying. Jimmy ran to the neighbor's house to see if he could get more information, but nobody was home. When I finally got home, I abandoned my car in the middle of the driveway and ran into the woods, screaming Leonardo's name. I found Jimmy frantically searching the woods, his shoes and pants crusty with mud, and his hands cracked and bloody (Jimmy's description) from the freezing temperature and thick brambles and thorns. We covered the woods over and over again, looking over and under every possible log, rock, pile of leaves, bag of trash, discarded chair, rusty barrel, fallen tree, one-legged table, flat tire, and frozen creek that we could find.
We only stopped looking when the search and rescue officer showed up with his lost human sniffing german shepard. I was of course crying uncontrollably by now, so Jimmy had to describe Leo to the guy. He asked us to wait at home while the police dog looked for our dog. So we waited. They searched for Leonardo until it started to get dark. JImmy went out to talk to the guy as they returned, Leonardo-less, to their search and rescue truck. The dog had picked up Leonardo's scent and they managed to find a blood trail in the woods. It ended in a pile of leaves with a small amount of fresh blood, but there was no Leonardo. The guy looked about as sorry as one person can be to another as he told Jimmy that Leonardo was probably dead or dying. We probably wouldn't ever see him again.
Back inside, the house was warm and comfortable. Leonardo was freezing to death outside, wondering why we didn't come and get him. He was bleeding, and probably hungry (since Jimmy was planning on feeding him after he returned from his "business"). It was dark now, and we were miserable. We quickly put together a flyer with his picture and last known whereabouts. We printed out about 150 copies and drove around the neighborhood, putting a flyer in every mailbox within a mile and a half radius. It was snowing now - hard. We started to wonder if Leonardo's dead little body would be so covered in snow that we would never find it.
When we came back home, we didn't even turn on the lights. I left a blanket and some food outside in case, by some miracle, Leonardo would find his way back home, but even as I did it, I believed our dog was dead. We sat there in the living room with the lights off, staring out the window into the woods, wondering how badly our little Leonardo had suffered before he finally breathed his last breath. Jimmy got up and went into the kitchen, and I just kept staring out the window.
Then, I saw something move outside. I blinked and stared hard. It was Leonardo!!!!!! He limped his way up to the door and looked in at me. "Jimmy! It's Leonardo! He's back!" Jimmy walked into the living room, ready to tell me that he didn't think that was funny, but then he saw him too! He was ok! We ran to the door, brought him in, and wrapped him in a blanket. Jimmy ran back to the kitchen and came back with a handful of bacon for Leonardo. He was too weak and freaked out to eat much of it, but he looked happy to be alive.
We took Leonardo straight to the emergency vet. When we asked the vet tech if Leonardo was behaving, she said "he was calm and perfect." His right hind leg was pretty banged up. He broke a metatarsal and he was bleeding from a couple of severe abrasions. He needs a cast, but he's going to be fine.
Can you believe that story??? Thanks for reading.