Persistence paid off for the owners of a 7-year-old border collie named Katie, who found their beloved pooch 57 days after she ran off into a wilderness area in Washington state.
The dog was found by Carole King on Sept. 15, when the owner responded to a Katie sighting and later spotted her under the shade of a tree in a subdivision of Kalispell.
‘I just bear-hugged her,’ the happy owner told The Spokesman Review.
Katie was found by Carole King (both pictured above) on Sept. 15, when the owner responded to a Katie sighting and later spotted her under the shade of a tree in a subdivision of Kalispell
A video gone viral on the internet shows an excited Katie crying herself as she comes home.
Carole and her husband Verne, retired law enforcement from Los Angeles now living in Deer Park, celebrated their tearful reunion with Katie after spending nearly two months searching for the dog.
Katie went missing in July from a Kalispell hotel room where she had been left alone, and was believed to have wandered into the wilderness area near Glacier National Park.
Carole, who quit her job as a postal carrier to continue the search, said it was unbearable not knowing how Katie was during her disappearance.
‘Every night going to bed, it was gut-wrenching,’ She told the New York Times. ‘Is she warm? Did she get to eat today? It tore us up.’
A viral video of Katie’s return home shows her anxious to be back while riding in a car
Verne King is seen approaching the car when Katie arrives home (both pictured above)
A grateful Verne King kisses Katie (above) through the window of a car the moment she arrives home after being missing for 57 days
Katie had bolted from a dog-friendly hotel in Kalispell, most likely stressed out by sudden storm.
The Kings, without any evidence that Katie was harmed or possibly dead, persisted in searching for her. With each day’s passing, they recruited the help of local residents in Kalispell, posting hundreds of flyers on utility poles, and keeping tabs on sightings of the animal.
The couple even armed themselves with night-vision goggles and game tracking cameras, to be able to search at night, and carried horse manure from their farm in the hopes Katie would recognize the scent.
At one point, Carole had to chose between continuing the search and returning to her job at the US postal service.
‘Katie was just more important to me,’ she told the Times.
Katie had gone missing in July from a Kalispell hotel (pictured above) after she had been left alone in the Kings’ room. She may have bolted from the property upset by a passing thunderstorm
Carole and Verne King, along with members of the Kalispell community, posted hundreds of flyers on utility poles in the hopes of finding Katie. One of the flyers is pictured above
Carole took up the search alone so that her husband could return home to care for the couple’s other animals.
‘I am going home to care for your brothers and sister,’ Verne wrote in a letter to Katie, referring to their two other dogs and a cat.
‘Instead of saying good bye, I would rather say, ‘See you soon.’
Some 50 days into the search, Carole admits she was starting to lose hope.
‘I wasn’t ready to go, but I was thinking, What else can I do?’ she told the Times.
Katie turned up after Verne persuaded Carole to stay another week, first spotted by a resident in a Kalispell subdivision, and later by a couple who saw her under a tree.
An exhausted Katie was dirty, dehydrated and 15lbs lighter after she was found on September 15. She is shown above with her owners, Carole and Verne King
Carole rushed over to the tree and found her dog.
‘All I could think about was, ‘I’m done. I got her,’ she told the Times.
‘I was crying, I was holding onto her, wrapped her up in a bear hug. I couldn’t get her in the car fast enough to close her in so I wouldn’t lose her again.’
An exhausted Katie was dirty, dehydrated and 15lbs lighter. She was taken to an emergency veterinarian who burst into tears learning she was the dog the entire community was looking out for.
Carole expressed gratitude to the people of Kalispell, which has a population of about 23,000. Strangers, who learned she was looking for Katie, had even been willing to open their doors and allowed her to stay with them.
‘We can’t believe that community up there,’ she said. ‘I got out of it sheer kindness from people — from a stranger to a stranger.’