A Lost Dog’s Incredible 80-Day Journey Through New Hampshire and Massachusetts to Get Home
This may be life imitating art in the loudest form. Do you remember the Homeward Bound movies that Disney released back in the 90s, the first of which (The Incredible Journey) was a remake of a 1963 movie, which was adapted from a book called The Incredible Journey? The three main characters, which were pets voiced by Don Ameche, Michael J. Fox, and Sally Field, go on a cross-country adventure in an attempt to return home after getting lost.
Seems like a pretty far-fetched thing to happen in reality, right? Sure -- until last week, when a Raymond, New Hampshire dog named Shyloh finally completed what ended up being an 80-day journey of returning home after being scared off on the 4th of July.
4th of July Fireworks
According to Holly Mokrzecki, the founder of Granite State Dog Recovery, Shyloh's adventure began a few months ago on the 4th of July, where she was so spooked after a round of fireworks went off, that she took off from her yard with such force that she ripped the leash right from her mother's hand. After darting from her yard, Shyloh ended up on Route 27, which sees cars traveling anywhere between 40-50 MPH (or higher) around some very dark areas in the road.
Thankfully, Shyloh averted the disaster that could've been, but at the same time also averted people that were trying to help snag her to return her to the safety of her home. In fact, according to accounts of people trying to help capture her, seeing people trying to scoop her up just startled her more and caused her to dart away even quicker.
Granite State Dog Recovery (GSDR)
After observing Shyloh staying within a few miles of her house in Raymond to start, Holly and her team from GSDR set up a trap in an area where Shyloh had been returning to frequently and hanging around. But that's apparently when she proved that she's not your average pup -- Shyloh out-tricked the trap and escaped it before the door fully closed to keep her inside. She still returned to the area and even sniffed around the trap, but refused to go back in. Smart pooch.
After a couple days of laying low and not even being spotted at all, Shyloh popped back up around Route 101 in Fremont -- as in the Route 101 that's a full-fledged highway with cars going anywhere between 60 and 80+ MPH. Shyloh again avoided a bad outcome and, as Holly put it, "caught another scent and she was off." She was next spotted in Danville for a quick 24 hours, then hopped on over to Kingston for a couple of days. Attempts to snag her there failed again, as things as simple and innocent as whistles and footsteps in her direction were enough to spook her more and cause her to take off again.
Her next stop was Newton (still in New Hampshire, not Mass), where she was seen sleeping in a shallow den she had dug herself on the side of the road. Re-read that sentence -- Shyloh was smart enough TO DIG HERSELF A DEN TO SLEEP IN SO SHE HAD SOME KIND OF PROTECTION. The only problem is that Shyloh noticed that someone had seen her, so she took off again, actually popping up at a facility that trains dogs, but she bolted from there pretty quickly.
The trail went pretty quiet from there, with Shyloh at some point crossing state lines and being seen in Haverhill, Mass, but after that sighting, all was quiet on the Shyloh front for a couple of weeks. She eventually was seen again in Haverhill, popping back up at one house multiple times. The GSDR crew helped rearrange the backyard at the home a bit in an attempt to catch her once and for all, but like when she originally left her home in Raymond, something again spooked her and she took off.
From evading that backyard trap in Haverhill, Shyloh made her way back over the state line to New Hampshire, being seen again in Newton and then in Plaistow, but falling off the map again for a couple of weeks after that, until she was finally seen again in Haverhill, but this time on the other side of the city from where she was originally seen there the first time. From Haverhill, she hopped the state line once again, popping up in Salem, then being spotted on 495 (again, a major highway) on her way back to Haverhill.
Throughout all of this time and all of these sightings, Shyloh was observed sneaking into fenced-in yards through gopher holes. She would literally flop onto her back and use her front paws against the bottom of the fence and pull herself through. And through all of these sightings, GSDR would repeatedly set up equipment, cameras, traps, and food on peoples' property.
Finally, Shyloh had returned to a fenced-in property that GSDR had just pulled equipment from, so they were nearby in the area. After receiving the call that she had come back, Holly and her team returned to see Shyloh in the middle of the yard, and after about 15 minutes of blocking her attempts to escape, were finally able to toss a snappy snare on her and secure possession of her.
According to Holly, it was almost like Shyloh knew she was safe, because after 80 days on the run, two states, and nine cities/towns, Shyloh dropped to the ground and relaxed for the first time in almost 3 months. I mentioned at the start of this that Shyloh had returned home, and she did in a sense, because her new home (for now) is Granite State Dog Recovery, where she was surrendered following this ordeal.
Holly says GSDR is taking good care of her and getting her a full vet work-up as well as getting her spayed as soon as its discovered that she's not pregnant, which means that not only is Shyloh up for adoption into your loving home, but GSDR is also accepting donations to cover the costs of not only Shyloh's vet care, but the numerous other animals they help. If you'd like to help make a donation to GSDR, they're accepting them here. And if you're interested in adopting Shyloh the Adventurer, or any other pup in the care of GSDR right now, you can start that process here.