A dog that disappeared into the New Hampshire wilderness after being spooked one day last May has finally been reunited with his family. For months, there were no sightings of Beowolf -- and his family thought the skittish pup was a goner.
But it turns out Beowolf was stronger and more resilient than they could have imagined. About eight months after the blonde retriever disappeared, volunteers with the Granite State Dog Recovery called the dog's family to inform them of a possible sighting.
In January, someone said they saw the skinny dog bolting down the road.
"A food station was quickly set up but nothing came of it," Granite State Dog Recovery said in a Facebook post chronicling the dog's incredible journey. "Reports came in that he fell through the ice of Newfound lake but was able to pull himself out. We were never able to confirm but that was our biggest fear that this would happen and the outcome would not be good."
"Dogs are resourceful and a lot smarter than we give them credit for."
Again, Beowolf's family lost hope. Surely, the dog would not survive with a wet coat in freezing temperatures -- but the Granite State Dog Recovery staff didn't give up hope. The group set up cameras around the wooded area, hoping to capture the dog on video.
Days later, they found a match. The dog was once again spotted near Newfound Lake in Bristol -- about seven miles from his home.
Volunteers set up traps, concerned Beowolf would succumb to the freezing temperatures before they could reach him.
"Our hearts broke every day for Beowolf but we knew he could stay warm whether under a cabin or under a porch he had shelter from the wind, snow or freezing rain," the group said. "Dogs are resourceful and a lot smarter than we give them credit for."
The group tried using food, toys and other tricks to trap the dog, but Beowolf wouldn't bite. For nearly 90 days, the dog "outsmarted" the volunteers, escaping capture.
Finally, on Monday -- roughly 11 months after he disappeared -- they caught him.
"Beowulf looked to have no injuries or signs of frostbite," the dog recovery service added. "He is one true survivor."
"Remember if you have a missing dog you should never give up. They are out there somewhere waiting to come home."
The next day, Beowolf was reconnected with his shocked family.
“He came right over to us and just sat on us and came as close as he could to us,” the dog's owner, Randy Sanborn, told WMUR. “I was afraid he was going to come back wild because he was gone so long. When I let him out, he doesn't want to stay out; he wants to come right back in again. So I think he's had enough cold weather for a while.”
The dog's will to survive proves no family should ever give up on a lost pet, Granite State Dog Recovery says.
"Remember if you have a missing dog you should never give up. They are out there somewhere waiting to come home," the group advised. "That one sighting call might be the key that provides the clues to that lead your dog to safety."