13-year-old golden retriever returns home after surviving 65 days in Alaskan wilderness

It’s always heartbreaking when a pet dog goes missing, but it was especially hard for one family whose beloved golden retriever disappeared in the Alaska wilderness.

They didn’t know if they’d ever see their dog again — but it turned out this dog was a born survivor.

On July 7, the Mahoskey family, of Sitka, Alaska, were in their backyard when a loud firework spooked their 13-year-old golden retriever Stella, sending her bolting into the woods, according to KCAW.

The family searched til dark for their dog but couldn’t find her anywhere. They hoped she would return to them on her own but she never did — and local reports of a bear attacking a dog sprung fears that Stella might be in serious danger.


Weeks passed, and though they odds seemed slim, they still held out hope that Stella was still alive. “I feel like there’s a 1% chance that she’s out there, and so I cannot let go,” owner Sarah Mahoskey told a friend, according to KCAW.

After more than two months, Sarah’s husband Jerome got a call from a friend that renewed hope: “He said, do you have a golden retriever? And Jerome said, Well, we did have a golden retriever. And he says, Well, I think this is your golden retriever.”

Jerome drove to the quarry where the dog was spotted, and though the golden retriever was hard to spot and blending in with the environment, he could tell it was his Stella, alive and well after 65 days.

Stella had reportedly lost half her body weight and was down to just 30 pounds. She also had a large gash across her left side, possibly from a bear.

Still, it was remarkable that the senior dog was alive after all this time. Not only did she survive a dangerous run-in with a bear, she managed to forage for food in the wilderness for two months. “She has always picked her own berries when we are out hiking,” Sarah told KCAW. “And she loves dandelion roots.”

It’s an unlikely story of survival straight out of Homeward Bound, and now Stella is safe back at home, regaining weight. The family says she hasn’t changed much, except she’s hungrier than before — and they’re happy to feed her whatever she wants.

What a miracle — we’re so glad Stella is home safe after her long adventure in the woods. Please share this amazing news if you love dogs! ❤️🐾