As Felipe Rodriguez watched in horror, an eagle swooped down and snatched his sister’s Bichon Frise, Zoey, from her backyard in Bowmanstown, Penn., Tuesday afternoon.
Rodriguez, who was visiting from Chicago, thought he might be hallucinating. “It seemed like something from the ‘Wizard of Oz,'” he told the Associated Press (AP). “I’m a city boy. This doesn’t happen in my world.”
He ran to the back door when he heard screeching from the yard. “The bird was holding onto the dog,” he told the AP. “There was flapping of wings and then it was gone.” He watched the eagle fly off with Zoey over trees on the banks of the nearby Lehigh River.
After driving around the neighborhood to try to find the eagle and Zoey, who’s 7 years old and weighs only 8 pounds, Rodriguez returned to his sister’s house and gave her the bad news.
“I did nothing but cry all day,” his sister, Monica Newhard, told the AP. She said she frequently saw eagles around her home, and thought they may have snatched some of her rabbits before. But she never expected one to take any of her four dogs.
Eagles have snatched dogs and cats, although it doesn’t happen very often, according to Laurie Goodrich, a biologist at Hawk Mountain Sanctuary in Kempton, Penn. Due to the current lack of food and frozen waterways, eagles and other raptors are “looking a little more widely and taking advantage of whatever might be out there,” Goodrich told the AP.
As Newhard and her husband were sadly searching the nearby woods for Zoey’s body, Christina Hartman happened to be driving along a snowy backroad four miles away when she saw something furry ahead of her. She stopped and got out of her car.
“I notice this little frozen dog, icicles hanging from all over. It could hardly move,” Hartman told the AP. She wrapped the dog up in a blanket and drove her to her home, where she fed her chicken-and-rice soup. She let the dog sleep with her in her bed. By the next morning, the dog was more active, although she had several wounds on her back and walked with a limp. The dog wasn’t wearing a collar.
Determined to find the little dog’s owner, Hartman checked Facebook. Lo and behold, there was a lost dog posting with a photo of Zoey. It was the same dog Hartman had rescued.
Hartman immediately called Newhard. “I said, ‘It’s a miracle! I have your dog!'” she told the AP.
Zoey is back home and recovering — although Newhard said the dog refuses to go outside. “I really can’t blame her,” she told the AP.
In a Facebook post, Monica Gary Newhard wrote that a good Samaritan had provided a raptor-proof outdoor pen in which her dogs can now safely play. “My fur babies will never be allowed out again unless they are supervised,” she wrote.
Photo: Monica Gary Newhard/Facebook