And, given it’s “National Pet Travel Safety Day” — yes, really — what better time to share that news.
Phil Nichols, 79, was heading back to Arizona from Helena, Montana, on Nov. 28 when he discovered his 6-year-old Lab mix, Buddy, was missing.
Buddy rode in the camper in the bed of Nichols’ pickup — and we won’t debate the safety of that practice here. He was in the camper, Nichols said, when he stopped for gas in Dillon. But on his next stop, Idaho Falls, he checked and found Buddy was gone.
Nichols drove 150 miles back to Dillon and spent a day and a half searching before heading, doglessly, back to Arizona.
In Pocatello, Idaho, Nichols, cut off by another car, hit a guardrail and rolled his vehicle. He wasn’t seriously injured, but the camper was crushed. Nichols wonders if Buddy somehow had a “sixth sense” about the accident and got out of the camper — though he doesn’t know how — before it was too late.
“I think the dog has more brains than I do,” said Nichols, who adopted Buddy from an animal shelter.
One month after Buddy’s disappearance, back in Montana, animal control officers got a call Thursday about a wounded stray dog in the Buxton area, about 10 miles southwest of Butte, according to the Billings Gazette.
Animal control officer Charlie Dick responded, spending 45 minutes coaxing the limping dog toward him with treats, before snagging him.
The dog was emaciated, had scratches on his face, and a wounded rear foot. In addition to freezing temperatures, and having to survive in the wild, Buddy had been shot with BB’s, X-rays by a veterinarian revealed.
“What a little survivor,” Dick said. ” He was out there a long time.”
Animal control was able to locate and contact Buddy’s owner through a lost dog ad on Craigslist, which had been posted by Nichols’ daughter in Helena.
Nichols said he plans to reunite with Buddy once the vet pronounces the dog ready to leave, but that he may call his dog before then.
“I just want them to put the phone to his ear and let him hear my voice,” Nichols said. “I think that would make him feel better.”
(Photo: Buddy and Nichols before they got separated)
Posted by jwoestendiek January 2nd, 2012 under Muttsblog.
Tags: accident, animal control, animals, arizona, buddy, butte, buxton, camper, crash, dillon, dog, dogs, emaciated, found, freezing, idaho springs, injured, lab, lost, mix, montana, month, national pet travel safety day, pets, phil nichols, reunion, reunite, shot, survival, survivor, travel, wilds