10-year-old dog who ran away from foster home miraculously survives sub-zero temperatures for 17 days
A St. Bernard dog that ran away from a foster home in Minnesota has been miraculously found alive after surviving 17 days in freezing temperatures.
The 10-year-old dog named Old Lady, which was rescued from a puppy mill in Wisconsin, darted away from her foster home on January 4 after getting spooked by the snow. Once in the woods of Zimmerman, the dog's leash somehow got entangled to a tree branch.
With outside temperarures fluctuating between highs of 45F and lows of -8F, the foster family did everything possible to try to locate her — they posted flyers and also formed search parties. But there was no sign of Old Lady, until Monday (January 21) that is. Old Lady was spotted in the woods by a grandfather and his grandsons who immediately initmated Ruff Start Rescue, a non-profit organization.
In a story posted on their Facebook page, the group detailed the journey of the "skittish" St Bernard for other people to read and spread awareness.
“We have had search parties, signs, phone calls, and so many people out looking for this poor girl,” the organization wrote on Facebook. After the search went on unsuccessfully for two entire weeks, the rescue team began to worry whether the poor animal could have survived the bitter cold.
They only got a few sightings of the dog, but there was no new information for days. On the other hand, temperatures continued to drop in Minnesota, making it increasingly dangerous for a pet caught outside.
But on January 21, the 17th day of the search, Old Lady was found against all odds. “One strong and quick dog, especially for her senior age,” is how Ruff Start Rescue described the dog in their post.
When the team discovered Old lady, her leash was caught in a tangle of trees. They had to use all their tact and patience — considering Old Lady was a shy animal and scared very easy — to slip a new leash on the dog and cut the one that was caught in the trees. Soon they managed to free the dog and bring her to the shelter with a little help from another group called The Retrievers and also the Sherburne County Sheriff’s Office.
“Her drive, her fight-or-flight response kicked in and she was able to stay alive through those frigid temps,” Azure Davis, the founder and executive director at Ruff Start Rescue, told FOX9 on how Old Lady made it through this trying ordeal.
At the time she was rescued, Old Lady was found malnourished, thirsty, and frostbitten, weighing less than 90 lb. But after only a few days of recovery, the dog was on her paws, “making her rounds” around the rescue. And on January 23, she set off to her new home through the rescue’s “foster to adopt” program.
“And just like that, Old Lady is off to her forever home! (She will do “foster to adopt” until healthy),” the rescue wrote on Facebook with a photo of the dog with her new owner. “This is the first kiss she has given. It was love at first sight for both of them.”