Dog Travels 40 Miles To Find Her Way Back To The Woman She Loves
Seneca Krueger could never have guessed the incredible trip her foster dog Zelda would take to be with her again when she initially picked her up last year.
Krueger, a psychologist, is also a dog foster parent who specializes in retraining rescued dogs to trust humans. She’s already fostered 30 dogs, but Zelda was a particularly challenging situation.
Krueger told The Dodo, “She arrived with anti-anxiety meds.” “Zelda took her time. She was either pacing or hiding all day.”
Krueger realized that Zelda seemed to be the most relaxed when she was on a leash, so she began tether training her, and the shy dog gradually began to open up. “She was attached to me when I was at home,” Krueger added. “I had also weaned her off of her anti-anxiety drugs during the course of two weeks of tether training, and the pacing had diminished.” She was even willing to come out of hiding for short periods of time on her own.”
Zelda eventually wagged her tail after two months of living with Krueger and her two family dogs. She began to bark and play around four months, however she still struggled with sudden noises and guests.
Still, Krueger knew she’d done everything she could to aid Zelda, and it was time to let her go. “As Zelda’s confidence grew, I thought it was time for her to find her forever home,” Krueger explained. “As a dog foster parent, this is what you’re meant to do: help them acclimate and then cheerfully say goodbye as they move on to live their best lives.”
Zelda was driven 40 miles to her new house by Krueger, but she found parting from her more difficult than she had imagined. Krueger explained, “I had to pull over to the side of the road because I couldn’t see through my tears.”
Krueger received the news that every dog owner dreads ten days after saying goodbye: Zelda had gone missing after sliding her leash. Krueger rushed into his vehicle and began looking for her right away.
START (Search, Track, and Retrieval Squad), an all-volunteer canine search team, had also received notice of Zelda’s abduction. Around the region, the crew put up feeding stations and trail cameras, and reports of Zelda sightings began to stream in.
Krueger refused to give up her hunt even when the temperature plummeted below zero. “I spent the most time seeking on the coldest days because I was frantic to get Zelda warm and safe,” Krueger said. “I spent hours out in the frigid weather, following dog tracks across ravines, frozen marshes, and fields,” says the author.
Krueger received word that Zelda had been discovered in Minneapolis, midway between her adoptive family and her foster home, more than two months later.
It was only then that Krueger realized Zelda was attempting to return to her.
The adopters returned Zelda to Wags and Whiskers Animal Rescue, which had arranged the adoption, and Krueger was overjoyed to have her puppy back — even if only on paper. “She was mine again,” Krueger said, “and I was more eager than ever to find her.”
Krueger received word two weeks later that Zelda had been sighted near her house. She set up feeding stations around her home and started throwing dirty laundry on the front lawn in the hopes of luring Zelda back to safety.
Krueger was contacted by a couple who informed her that they had been feeding a very nervous dog that resembled Zelda. Krueger, on the other hand, didn’t want to get her hopes up after such a long time.
Finally, the pair was able to capture the malnourished puppy and informed Krueger in the wee hours of the morning. Krueger discovered a little, scared dog inside the cage, who bore no resemblance to the Zelda she remembered. When the START manager came, a short check of the dog’s chip revealed the unthinkable.
Zelda had returned home after more than three months on the run.
“It was a miracle, and what do you do when you’re confronted with a miracle?” I cried, “Krueger explained. “Zelda apologized for not recognizing her. For the first time in 97 days, I touched her. I told her she was returning home for good and that I would never stop looking for her.”