Against all odds, a beloved border collie has miraculously been reunited with her owners who spent 57 days searching for her in a rural region of Montana.
Carole King and her husband Verne had traveled all the way to Kalispell from their home in Spokane, Washington so they could enjoy a relaxing 4-day getaway in the sprawling mountain wilderness.
However, their vacation turned into a harrowing search and rescue mission after they returned to their dog-friendly hotel on July 20th only to find that their 7-year-old border collie named Katie had disappeared from their room.
The Kings immediately canceled their return trip home so they could stay in Kalispell and search for Katie. For several weeks, they would stay out until 4AM calling her name; they distributed hundreds of fliers throughout the community; they published her picture on social media channels and Facebook groups; concerned local citizens helped them comb the countryside—but they still couldn’t find Katie.
After a few weeks with no success, they bought motion-triggered cameras and animal cage traps that were baited with Katie’s favorite food. They even bought night vision goggles after one of their newly-made friends in Kalispell suggested that Katie may be moving around at night—but still no luck.
At one point, Carole traveled back home to Spokane so she could go back to her job as a mail carrier; but when they declined her request to take additional time off to keep searching, she quit.
“Katie was just more important to me,” Ms. King told the New York Times. “I just said, ‘I’ll finish this week, and that’s it.’”
Upon returning to Kalispell once more, Verne took her place at their home in Washington so he could continue looking after their other pets. Thankfully, a local family in Montana had offered to host them until they found their dog, and Carole continued the search with the help of the friendly mountain community.
By the time September rolled around, Carole began to lose hope. She missed her home, husband, and pets, but Verne and the Kalispell residents encouraged her to continue looking for one more week.
She then received a call from a resident who said that he had seen a border collie in his yard. Carole and her friend visited the property, but found nothing—until they ran into a pair of hikers who pointed out a border collie that had been resting under a nearby tree. When Carole called Katie’s name, the dog ran bounding into her arms.
“All I could think about was, ‘I’m done. I got her,’” Carole told The Times. “I was crying, I was holding onto her, wrapped her up in a bear hug. I couldn’t get her in the car fast enough to close her in so I wouldn’t lose her again.”
Though Katie had lost 15 pounds from her stint in the wild, she was in relatively good health—and she was overwhelmed with joy when she was finally reunited with Verne back in Washington.
Carole now hopes that their story will inspire other pet owners to never give up on their missing animals.
(WATCH the heartwarming reunion in the news coverage below)
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