Pet Tips 'n' Tales©

Lost in the Wilderness
- Blind Dog Survives 19 Days! -
Part II
Courtesy Photo©
Nineteen days of terror! Happy Jack, a lost 9-year-old blind, crippled, and deaf Border Collie avoided the deep forest pitfalls of starvation, cliffs, and predators before being found barely alive as the result of a prayer and the miracle that followed.  Left to Right: Happy Jack's pal Bulldozer and his rescuers Dotty, Nancy and Joanne.


Last week's Tips 'n' Tales described Happy Jack's (Happy) journey of being lost in the wilderness and the citizens of Prineville, Oregon striving to find the missing blind and deaf 9-year-old Border Collie. Back at Linda's and John's Horse Ranch, Bulldozer (Happy's dog pal) had plummeted into grief. 

The story ended with Linda praying, "God, I turn Happy over to you. I have done everything I can. I know you help those that believe.'  Then I had a good cry, loaded up the horses, and drove home without him." 

A walk in the woods is no picnic when you are blind. Close your eyes and feel what Happy  felt.  Terror.  For almost three weeks, he struggled alone to survive.  "How he managed to eat, drink, and stay alive bouncing like a pinball through the forest, or that he did not fall over a cliff is a miracle!" states Linda.

Like a game of wild-woods-roulette how did this crippled dog avoid the mountain predators: coyotes, cougars and bobcats?

Five Crooked River Ranch friends Joanne, Dottie, Nancy, Gay, and Sue
ride horses together. Joanne was in Prineville, Oregon when she spotted one of several hundred 'Help bring Happy Jack home!' posters. 
"I copied the phone number feeling a premonition that we might find the dog," said Joanne.

The following week, the group went riding and they took a different trail each time. Nancy felt compelled to take a trail she had not ridden for ten years, so she mapped it with GPS.

"We rode for 1-1/2 hours.  We saw coyotes and butterflies lead our way," remarks Sue. "It was a good omen and Joanne felt a guiding hand on her back. Two of us turned back, and the other three kept riding."
"One and a half hours later, we came to a small stream," recalls Nancy. "It was the only source of water in the area.  Dottie saw a dog lying beside it.  He slowly lifted his nose in the air and struggled to rise. We had found Happy Jack! Excitedly, we ran to him."

Their Search & Rescue training kicked in, they checked him over, and figured the best and quickest way to transport him without further trauma was on Dottie's gentle horse, Aurelia. They handed Happy up into Dottie's arms and he settled into the warmth of human kindness.

Auralia, sensed they were on a special mission of hope -- and saving a life was in her hands.  Auralia smoothly walked with Happy Jack on board.
They rode for two miles down to the dirt road, then Dottie waited while the others hustled back to camp for the truck, dog food, and water.

Happy received his first real meal in nineteen days, while Joanne drove for a cell signal to make a much awaited phone call to Happy's family, Linda and John.  

"It was the longest three hour drive," recalls Linda. "The truck was still moving when I saw Happy, jumped out, and ran to him"
Linda fell to the ground embracing Happy and sobbing,  "I never gave up hope!
At her touch, he lifted his head, but it was several minutes before he was able to take a few wobbly steps. Then he began wagging his 'happy tail.'

"It was an emotional scene.  Other campers and horse riders had gathered around and everyone was crying," recalls John.
"Happy survived under amazing odds! He not only found the only water source, he  had wandered through heavily wooded wilderness, well known for its predators, directly in line with his home!" said Nancy. "It is an experience of a lifetime and one that we will never forget!"
Photo by Mary Ellen "Angel Scribe"©
Heavily wooded mountain ranges absorb lost hikers and dogs! Two hundred foot tall Douglas Fir trees, thick as a carpet of grass cover mountains illustrating Happy's situation.
"When it was time to leave," said Sue, "Happy made the rounds, wagging his tail, saying goodbye to each of us-- as if to thank us."

"Arriving home, Bulldozer met us at the truck and was ecstatic to see his buddy!" said Linda.


Courtesy photo by Sue ©
Lost for 19 days in the Oregon mountains, Happy Jack is happy to be home!
Here he is with a new toy presented at his reunion at Prineville's Library.
"It took Happy two weeks to recover from his ordeal. He had lost his collar and tags, he must have been hung up on a log. Thank goodness he was not wearing a choke collar!
He is totally deaf in one ear, and partially in his other ear.  The hearing he had left must have led him to the creek and then he raised his head when he recognized the horses' vibration walking by.

"Happy's experience taught us that in this economy we had been so focused on our struggling  finances that we forgot to appreciate our blessings: pets, friends, family. 

"Currently, the running joke is changing Happy's name to Lucky," laughs John. "He's proven that miracles happen."        

"I never gave up faith that we would find him," admits Linda.  "One of the men who helped search for Happy said, 'You and Happy have restored my faith and taught me to never give up hope,'" said Linda of
Burnt Spur Ranch    
NOTE: Prineville's childrens' librarian, Julie Handyside wrote a picture book story on Happy Jack.  The library held a reunion for Happy, his rescuers, and others who had participated in his search.  They had a Welcome Happy Jack cake and his story was read to the children.

"The entire town was looking for Happy.  We fell in love with him, his plight, and were excited at his rescue.  Everyone was thrilled to finally meet Happy and celebrate in his miracle," said author Julie.


Happy Jack's story teaches that lost dogs often lose their collar IDs, which explains why microchipping brings pets home.

Linda and John are no strangers to pet miracles.  Their  28 year old blind horse, Bud, was featured several years ago in Animal Miracles "This Bud's for You."  Bud continues giving lessons and taking short trail rides around the their property. 
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