Lost border collie covers 30 miles in search for home
Family reunites with foot-sore, hungry dog
Katherine Jones / The Idaho Statesman
While it wasn´t the “Incredible Journey,” the fact that P.J. showed up 30 miles from where the dog got lost and spent a sub-zero night in the sagebrush highlands — well, that´s good enough for Garth Waddoups, a Mountain Home veterinarian and P.J.´s owner. Man and dog were reunited Thursday night, more than 24 hours after the border collie turned up missing during a cattle drive in the Owyhee Mountains.
Mountain Home veterinarian Garth Waddoups knew the odds were against his 7-year-old border collie, P.J., when the dog was lost during a cattle drive in the Owyhee Mountains Wednesday evening.
As the black and white, freckle-faced dog made his way through 30 miles of treacherous mountains, he encountered below-zero temperatures in terrain that is home to cougars and other wildlife.
But P.J. survived the night and was reunited with his family Thursday evening.
P.J. and Waddoups were moving about 20 cows to a winter range on Wednesday.
Waddoups believes P.J. got lost after the dog tried to find the family pickup truck, which had been moved to another location.
“Whenever we get separated, he just panics,” Waddoups said.
P.J. usually returns to the pickup truck when he loses track of his owner and waits for Waddoups to return.
After a two-hour search, Waddoups gave up just before darkness covered the mountainous area near Boulder Creek, about seven miles from Silver City.
“We figured he was gone,” Waddoups said.
Cougars live in the area, and Waddoups said the group saw a large gray wolf on Wednesday. Overnight temperatures dipped below zero.
“We were worried about him freezing to death,” he said.
But the next evening as the family prepared to celebrate Halloween they received a phone call. P.J. had found his way through the mountains, traveling 30 miles to a home near Oreana.
Rick and Carol Brand live west of Oreana. P.J. approached a neighbor´s house, and because the Brands also have a border collie, the neighbors assumed he was their dog.
“She just told him to go home,” Carol Brand said. “And P.J. said, ´That´s what I´m trying to do.´”
P.J. walked to the Brands´ house, where he encountered Rick Brand in the driveway. He hopped into Rick´s pickup truck and rode into town while Rick ran an errand, then returned home to the Brand residence for some pampering.
“He was foot-sore and really hungry,” Carol Brand said.
With a full belly, P.J. took a nap in the sun while Brand began calling people around town.
P.J.´s identification tag had fallen off, so his owner´s information wasn´t visible.
P.J. also has a micro-chip identification tag embedded under the skin on his back, but the micro-chip can´t be detected without the proper scanning equipment.
After an afternoon of phone calls, word spread around town and soon the Brands received a call from a man who had joined Waddoups on the cattle drive.
“We were glad to have him back,” Waddoups said. “The kids cried when he got lost.”
After Waddoups brought P.J. home Thursday night — he met the Brands in Grand View to retrieve the dog — 12-year-old Sami Jo and 10-year-old Nate greeted their beloved pet with jerky treats.
It wasn´t the first time P.J. was separated from his family. During a cattle drive in Elko last winter, P.J. was lost for three weeks during a blizzard. Waddoups had asked people from the cattle drive to keep a lookout for the dog, and he resurfaced in the same location.
Now Waddoups wonders if P.J.´s wilderness adventures are over.
“We hope so,” he said.
Jeff "Jesse" James - Owner of Jesse's Hunting & Outdoors
You can always tell who's in 2nd place by who's whining and crying the most. - Old hockey coach.
Dum spiramus tuebimur
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"In the beginning of a change, the patriot is a brave and scarce man, hated and scorned. When the cause succeeds, however, the timid join him... for then it costs nothing to be a patriot." -Mark Twain
Man, I love stories like that.
Sounds like that movie my youngens are always watching!!!!!
I'LL WACK'EM WHILE YOU STACK'EM!!!!!!!!