BOISE, Idaho – A lost Boise dog is back home after nine months and a brutal winter alone in the Idaho mountains.
Mo, an elderly Chesapeake Bay Retriever, wandered away from her owners during a hunting trip last September.
Darwin and Cindy Cameron stayed near the tiny hamlet of Horseshoe Bend about 30 miles (48 kilometers) north of Boise for three months looking for Mo. But deep snow and harsh conditions eventually made the search impossible.
Dog rescuer Cheri Glankler took in a starving retriever that had collapsed at a nearby ranch last month, the Idaho Statesman reported. Based on the dog's initial disheveled appearance, it was clear that she had been living on her own in the wild, Glankler said. She posted photos of the dog on Facebook, and word quickly reached the Camerons that Mo may have been found.
The Camerons were initially hesitant to see the dog after receiving so many false alarms before Glankler's call.
Mo had lost her hearing and half her body weight while surviving in the wild, and Glankler warned the couple that she would not be exactly as they remembered her.
"They all expect this kind of Disneyland response like you see sometimes in videos when veterans come home," she said. "And to be perfectly honest, that's abnormal. People don't understand that (the dogs) have gone into survival mode."
Despite Mo's subdued behavior, the Camerons recognized her through her mannerisms and other distinctive details.
The couple is thankful to all the people who came forward to make the reunion possible.
"The sheriff's office, the hunters who set aside their tags and their hunting trips to help look for a lost dog," Darwin said. "Boy, we're blessed to have her back."
Glanker became very fond of the now 14-year-old dog during their brief time together and has nicknamed her "The Legend" in honor of all she survived.
"Who saved Mo? Mo saved Mo," Glankler said. "Even here when I would take her out on a lead, she was searching. She knew who she was looking for. She's incredible."