Lost dog who spent 17 days in the freezing cold battling coyotes finally returns home

It’s always heartbreaking when a dog goes missing. You’re left worried sick wondering where your pet is, and whether they’re in any danger.

That was certainly the reality for one dog, whose two weeks away from home were an ordeal involving battling both coyotes and the snowy wilderness.

Judy and Walter Preston, from Newark, Ohio, are lifelong dog lovers who have always had lots of pets in their lives. So when their dog passed away last year, they decided it was time to adopt a new one, according to the Newark Advocate.

Last month, they adopted Maggie, a two-year-old black lab mix, from the Licking County Humane Society.

NEW ARRIVAL! Meet Maggie! This sweet 2 1/2 year old lab mix is ready for her furever home! She does have some skin…

Posted by Licking County Humane Society on Monday, January 10, 2022

But shortly after bringing her home, Maggie unexpectedly escaped.

According to the Advocate, the couple left Maggie in her crate while taking a lunch break at work, and she somehow escaped. “It was literally the most bizarre thing I’ve ever seen,” Judy Preston said.

Their new dog’s disappearance devastated the couple, and finding her was no easy task. Walter had to leave for a business trip, while Judy contacted the Humane Society for help. Search flyers were put up, but cautioned that Maggie was in “flight mode” and shouldn’t be “tracked.”

“It was very clear that Maggie was terrified and darting when people were around,” LCHS communications director Elycia Taylor told the Newark Advocate.

UPDATE 1/31 – SAFE AND BACK AT LCHS!!Maggie has had an additional sighting by our humane agent but has been scared away…

Posted by Licking County Humane Society on Monday, January 17, 2022

They were also concerned because the dog was lost in the icy elements: temperatures were freezing and inches of snow covered the ground.

Local rescues joined the search effort, setting up cameras and traps to hopefully lure the skittish dog to safety.

While Maggie remained missing, occasionally she was caught on camera, showing how intense her fight for survival could get: one video showed the dog fighting with coyotes.

Two weeks passed. Between the freezing weather and predators, Maggie was in a dire situation, but remained elusive to capture.

But on January 31, after 17 days missing in the wild, Maggie was finally caught and returned home!

“Maggie is now inside where it’s warm and dry, where she has fresh water and nutritious food, where she is surrounded by so much love, and where she doesn’t have to fight for her life,” the Licking County Humane Society wrote on Facebook.

It’s a miracle that Maggie survived all that time in the dangerous elements. According to the Advocate, she survived by taking shelter in barns and outbuildings, and eating corn left out for deer.

“I lost it. I completely lost it,” Judy Preston said about hearing the good news.

Maggie was found very thin but otherwise unharmed. She is now on a diet plan to regain weight.

Maggie was adopted today by the Preston family! Thank you so much for choosing rescue!#LCHSpets #morethanashelter

Posted by Licking County Humane Society on Thursday, January 13, 2022

It’s a happy reunion, all made possible by the inspiring rescue effort of this community.

“We wouldn’t have been able to do it without sightings from community members,” Taylor told the Advocate.

Now that she’s finally home — safe, warm, and away from all the coyotes — Maggie doesn’t seem keen on running away again soon. “She’s had enough of that for now, I think,” Judy said.

What a frightening adventure Maggie had while away from home. We’re so glad she’s back safe and sound with her family!

Thanks to everyone who helped bring this dog home!

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