It’s always heartbreaking when a pet goes missing. It’s a difficult experience for an owner to have to go searching for their lost friend, worried sick about whether they’ll ever find them.
But it helps to have the assistance of kind people in your community. We’ve seen many inspiring stories of strangers rallying together to help bring a lost dog home for the holidays.
That was the case recently, after a golden retriever was saved from a storm drain and reunited with his worried family.
The Popiel family, of Thomasville, Georgia, brought home their golden retriever Bailey when he was just a puppy, as a 10th birthday gift for their son Noah. The now-four-year-old dog has become a beloved part of the whole family.
“Bailey is like a family member to us,” mom Michelle Popiel told the Thomasville Times-Enterprise.
So they were devastated last week when Bailey escaped from the family’s truck while they were out on a shopping trip.
The dog ran off and was nowhere to be found. The family began an exhaustive search around town to bring Bailey home, sharing flyers and posting the story on social media.
Facebook/Michelle Manning Popiel
After a day passed with no sign of the Bailey, the family says they “thought he was gone forever.”
“It was obvious they were scared that their dog was gone forever,” the Thomasville-Thomas County Humane Society wrote on Facebook. “No one had heard anything about him being in the area.”
Thankfully, they weren’t alone in their search: neighbors came out in full force to help search for the golden retriever. Hundreds shared the family’s post on social media. The family was grateful for all the help they could get.
“The outpouring of love and concern not just from friends but also just perfect strangers was just incredible,” Michelle told the Times-Enterprise.
But soon, Bailey was found in an unexpected place, and strangers came to the rescue.
A mechanic named Dallas Johnson noticed a dog trapped in a storm drain. “Its legs were actually tangled up under water, but he was just so exhausted from being in that cold water,” Dallas recalled. “I’ve never been involved in anything like this in my life. I knew you see an animal in distress you want to try and help.”
The dog was Bailey. Dallas and his co-worker freed the freezing dog from the drain, and contacted the Humane Society, who recognized Bailey as the Popiels’ missing pet. They contacted the family, and soon everyone was reunited.
While he was a bit shaken from the ordeal, Bailey is uninjured and happy to be home.
And the family was grateful for everyone who helped bring Bailey back to them.
“We tried to stay positive all day and look for the good in it and I think the good in that was just to see so many people want to help when people truly cared and wanted to unite around something like that,” Michelle told the Times-Enterprise.
Best of all, this family is all together again just in time for the holidays: “It really was a Christmas miracle.”