It’s always a heartbreaking experience when a pet goes missing, especially around this time of year. Not only can the worry put a damper on your holidays, but it’s also hard for a pet to be out there alone in the cold.
So it helps to have your friends and neighbors by your side to help you get your pet back safe and sound.
That was the case recently, after a community came together to reunite a family with their dog who had been missing for weeks — just in time for Thanksgiving.
Amy and Craig Tucker, from Muskegon, Michigan, are the owners of a two-year-old Boxer Catahoula mix named Harley. But the family was left devastated in October when Harley escaped from a boarding facility, according to WTOL.
Weeks passed with no sign of the dog — but thankfully, the couple received the help of their community. Harley’s story was shared on social media, and neighbors began to assist in the search.
“The community all rallied, we not only could feel the devastation and heartbreak that family was going through,” local woman Cindy Witham wrote on Facebook. “Everyone wanted Harley home!”
“From neighbors leaving garage doors open to people calling about sightings on their Ring cameras, it’s been a community-wide effort,” she told WTOL.
Carl Johnson, the owner of Great Lakes Nuisance Animal Control, was one of the concerned neighbors — and was especially worried how Harley was holding up as temperatures dropped: “Winter is coming,” Carl said. “Time is running out.”
So, utilizing his experience as an animal tracker, he set a trap for the dog in the woods, hoping Harley would come to him.
And sure enough, by the next morning, he found a hungry dog in his trap: it was Harley, finally found after over seven weeks missing.
“Harley spent almost 8 weeks, over 56 terrifying nights, 7 miles on the road and 100’s of miles traveling through the wilds of the woods,” Cindy wrote on Facebook. “She is smart and her will to live was like no other.”
Soon, Harley was reunited with her family. According to WTOL, Carl declined an offer of payment, saying he was just happy to be able to bring the dog home and calling it a “wonderful outcome.”
Harley was finally home, right in time for Thanksgiving weekend, and the owners were certainly “thankful,” both to Carl and to all the neighbors who rallied to help them find their dog.
“It really took everybody. It was a big emotional rollercoaster to go through all of this,” Amy Tucker told WTOL.
It’s a story that serves as a reminder of the power of people coming together and helping one another.
“We couldn’t have done it with all of the community’s help,” Amy said. “It has been an overwhelming experience. Something like this goes to show you that there are so many good people that are willing to help. I can’t ever thank everyone for what they have done.”