Madera, a blind, 11-year-old black Lab who got lost in Alaska Feb. 6, was saved by the bell.
Constantine Khrulev was riding his bike Thursday, accompanied by his dog — who was wearing the bell on his collar — when he heard another dog whining. He found Madera under a tree about 100 yards from the trail.
Madera had gone missing from her Ester home two weeks earlier after the wife of her dog dad, Ed Davis, let her out of the house to do her business.
Usually Madera came back inside as soon as she was finished. But as the temperature dipped to 40 degrees below zero, Madera was nowhere to be found.
Davis was out of town at the time, working at the trans-Alaska oil pipeline. He wasn’t optimistic about finding Madera alive when he returned home this week.
“My best hope was to walk those trails and look for a track that might be hers,” Davis told the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner. “My best hope was to find a frozen dog.”
Madera had ended up in the woods only half a mile from her home. The senior pooch somehow managed to survive nearly two weeks in sub-zero weather.
When Khrulev found Madera, he brought her to a neighbor of the Davis family. Madera, who lost her eyesight due to an autoimmune disease, shed about 14 pounds during her ordeal, but was in good condition considering the circumstances.
“Maybe Madera went on a vision quest,” wrote Sharon Alden in a comment on the News-Miner article. “I saw Ed and Madera this week and she’s the same sweet dog with a great spirit and a now-trim waistline. I’m so amazed that this had a happy ending.”
Davis offered Khrulev a $100 reward, but Khrulev refused it and asked him to donate it to the Fairbanks Animal Shelter Fund. Impressed, Davis increased the donation to $250.
The News-Miner article doesn’t mention it, but I bet Davis will get Madera a bell of her own.
Photo via Facebook