A senior dog has experienced a heartwarming reunion with her family after enduring a challenging journey. Stella, a 13-year-old golden retriever, managed to survive an incredible 65 days on her own in the Alaskan wilderness after she went missing in July. Last month, her family successfully located her, and now she’s on the path to recovery surrounded by her loved ones.
Stella’s adventure began shortly after July 4, while she was spending time with her family, including Sarah and Jerome Mahoskey and their children Kai and Quinn, on the back deck of their Sitka residence, as reported by a local news outlet, KCAW. A sudden burst of fireworks startled Stella, prompting her to run into the nearby woods.
Despite their best efforts, the Mahoskeys couldn’t find Stella that evening. The following morning, with Stella still missing, they became increasingly worried, especially after a neighbor informed them about a bear incident in the area.
“They said, ‘Did you hear that there was a bear that attacked a dog last night? We had the windows open in the back of the house, and my wife heard this altercation that sent chills up her spine. And basically, I don’t think your dog could be alive,'” Sarah recalled, recounting the neighbor’s unsettling message
However, the Mahoskeys clung to the hope that Stella might still be alive. Throughout the summer, they tirelessly searched the trails in the vicinity of Stella’s disappearance and followed up on every lead reported by community members.
Then, in early September, a friend of Jerome’s, Tim Eddy, who was working at a quarry, contacted the family with a crucial discovery. He asked Jerome if they had a golden retriever, to which Jerome replied, “Well, we did have a golden retriever.” Tim then confirmed, “Well, I think this is your golden retriever,” leaving the Mahoskeys in shock.
Jerome rushed to the quarry on a four-wheeler and eventually spotted Stella. She was perched on a cliffside, blending in perfectly with the ash and rock. Sarah marveled at Tim’s keen eye, wondering how he had spotted her.
The Mahoskeys believe that Stella hadn’t been at the quarry for long, given the scarcity of food and water, but they suspect she was familiar with the area due to her upbringing around Jerome’s excavation business.
After more than two months of surviving in the wilderness, Stella had lost a substantial amount of weight, dropping to 30 pounds, which is nearly half her normal body weight. Sarah believed she sustained herself by foraging for food, as Stella had a history of picking berries during their hikes and had a fondness for dandelion roots. Additionally, Stella had a significant gash on her left side, which they believed might have been from a bear encounter.
In a remarkable twist, this wasn’t the first time Stella had been part of an extraordinary survival story. In 2015, shortly after the Mahoskeys adopted her, Stella was inside Jerome’s truck when a landslide, triggered by heavy rains, crushed the vehicle. At the time, Jerome had assumed the worst, but rescuers managed to pull Stella from the landslide debris just as they were about to halt their search due to hazardous conditions.
Following her latest ordeal, Stella is already showing signs of improvement and has regained 11 pounds since her return.
Stella’s story is a reminder of the resilience of senior golden retrievers in the Alaskan wilderness.
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