Blind and alone in Alaska winter temperatures that dipped to minus-40°C, a lost eight-year-old Fairbanks dog was not given much of a chance to make it home. However, after walking 16km to the edge of a local musher’s dog yard, Abby the brown-and-white mixed breed was found and returned to her owners, a family that includes two boys and one girl under the age of 10.
The dog that the family raised from an animal-shelter puppy went missing during a snowstorm on Dec. 13, and the family never expected to see her again, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported.
“It’s a miracle, there’s no other words to describe it,” said McKenzie Grapengeter, emotion choking her voice and tears coming to her eyes.
Musher and veterinarian Mark May said he came across the dog while running his team on Dec. 19, but did not stop to pick her up.
“It ran with us for about a mile [1.6km] on the way home before she fell off the pace, but I had a big dog team so I couldn’t grab it,” he said. “I said, ‘boy I hope it finds somebody’s house.’”
The next day, the dog turned up at May’s house.
“Everybody just assumed it was some kind of scaredy-cat, but there it was in front of the door in our dog lot and it was blind,” May said. “It was sitting there, all the way from 14 mile on the winter trail down into this neighborhood, I guess by just sniffing, so I picked it up and brought it in.”
To May’s surprise, the dog had no signs of frostbite.
The Grapengeter family had not tagged or put a microchip in the dog, but the community used social media to track down Abby’s owners.
“We’re so, so grateful for all [the community’s] hard work,” Mc-Kenzie Grapengeter said. “They’ve given us the most amazing Christmas gift we could ever ask for.”