A dog is finally back home with her family in Portland after surviving nine days alone in the Washington wilderness after falling over a ridge.
Penny, a three-year-old miniature Australian Labradoodle, went on a backpacking trip through Mount Shuksan in northern Washington with her owner, Kim Spiro, and her friends.
They hiked five miles and several thousand feet elevation, from the trailhead to their campsite near Lake Ann for a weekend trip.
Penny was on a leash during the hike, but once they got near the lake, Spiro took her leash off, not realizing that there was a steep drop off into a 600-foot canyon nearby.
Suddenly, Penny went chasing after a kicked rock and disappeared past the tree line.
Spiro panicked and ran after her, but she was nowhere to be found. She even hiked a mile in each direction to look for her, but there was no Penny in sight.
The next morning, Spiro went to the edge of the ravine and heard a faint barking in the distance. She figured it was Penny, but there was no way to get down the ravine, nor was there any cell phone service.
Once they got back to the trailhead, Spiro contacted Summit to Sound and the Washington State Animal Response Team for help.
A dozen volunteers from the rescue groups came out the next day with treats and rope gear in the hopes of finding Penny, but to no avail.
They even used two drones and searched the area for ten hours, but still couldn’t find her.
Just when Spiro began to lose hope, she received a call that Penny had been found, nine days after she went missing.
A group of hikers were getting ready to climb the Fisher Chimneys at Mount Suskan, when a dog ran in front of their car.
That dog was Penny. She was terrified, shivering and crying, but she was alive. She jumped into their car and happily ate some food that the hikers offered her.
One of the hikers, Helaina Hurwitz, drove Penny back home with her and called up the park rangers, who had already been aware of Penny’s disappearance.
They were able to get in touch with Penny’s family, who then drove to Hurwitz’s home in Seattle to reunite with their adventurous pup.
Although Penny had somehow survived the nine days in the wilderness, she managed to break some teeth and cut up her chin, but she is expected to make a full recovery.
It’s unknown how she managed to make it back to the trailhead parking lot, but they believe she may have walked the 15 miles, following two creeks along the forest.
The forest is filled with coyotes, cougars and bears, so it is certainly a miracle that Penny made it out alive.