Against all odds, this week a Seattle woman, Sierra Eberly, brought her dog, Snow Beau, home after he had disappeared in the Cascade Range for 28 days.
Eberly had been trail running on the Mount Washington trail, 45 miles east of Seattle and took Snow Beau off his leash so they could both scramble up a steep section with rocks. But when he got to the top ahead of her, she said, the 11-month-old pup was spooked by a mountain biker and took off running.
"I thought I knew the trail, and even the map that I had didn't have the mountain bike trail that was there," Eberly said.
She raced down the mountain and searched for hours, joined by a friend who helped her search until past midnight. No Snow Beau.
Eberly continued searching. The days turned into weeks.
"I had people offering to go do search parties," she said. "I kept telling people before I found him, if anything good came from this, even if I didn't ever find him, it was the restored faith in humans. Just how kind people can be."
Eberly and friends put up posters, left food and familiar clothes along the trail, called shelters, and posted about Snow Beau on all the online groups and forums they could think of.
She even set up a trail camera near where Snow Beau had disappeared to automatically send her photos, in case he appeared in one of them.
And then, this past Saturday, he did.
"I looked at the cam—and it was a picture of him," she said. Eberly also received two calls from hikers who had spotted him.
She rushed to the trailhead, then camped out with a friend. No Snow Beau, once again.
Then on Sunday morning, she received a call from a good Samaritan.
"This guy's like, ‘Hey, are you missing your dog?' I said, YES!" she said.
The man had used his phone to scan the QR code on Snow Beau's Wag tag to get her phone number.
He was in North Bend, 8 miles from where he first disappeared.
"I saw his eyes and his face and I was like, ‘Oh, my God, it's my dog, yes, it's my dog!' I'm so happy," Eberly said.
When Snow Beau disappeared on Oct. 6, he was 42 pounds. When he was found on Nov. 3, he was 28 pounds and severely dehydrated, but otherwise doing well.
Eberly is grateful for the help of so many friends and complete strangers and for the determination of her little dog to come home.
"I don't know how he did it," she said. "Dogs are amazing. Especially this guy."
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