How far would you go to find your lost pet? This Washington woman was willing to do everything it takes to find her lost dog, even when it meant quitting her job.
Carole King and her husband Verne traveled to Flathead County for a four-day long getaway when the worst thing happened. Their 7-year-old border collie, Katie, went missing from their hotel room where they left her. They went to a stock-car race one night and when they returned, Katie was no longer there.
The dog apparently figured out how to unlock the door and escaped from the room. The couple thinks that Katie may have been scared by a thunderstorm that’s why she ran out.
“It was devastating. I got sick to my stomach,” Carole told the Daily Inter Lake.
Panicking, they searched the room for any signs of Katie before checking with the front desk clerk in hopes that her dog was still in the building.
“I said to the clerk, ‘please tell me you have my dog.’ The clerk says ‘no, she left about 4, 4 and a half hours ago,'” she said.
The clerk told her that when the automatic doors opened, Katie ran right out.
The Kings searched the hotel grounds all night and called for Katie until the wee hours of the morning, but to no avail. Since they’re both former law-enforcement officers from Los Angeles, the couple treated Katie’s disappearance like the cases they used to handle.
Carole and Verne put up Katie’s picture on light polls, around the neighborhood, and on the internet. They searched the area around the hotel and the nearby alfalfa fields. They also looked for tracks and droppings but still, there was no sign of the missing dog.
The clerk helped them by posting about Katie in a local missing pets Facebook group and assisting Carole in creating fliers.
Half a month into the search, the couple decided to take a more intense approach. They bought two cameras that record when animals are sensed. They also purchased animal traps and used Katie’s favorite snack as bait. According to the Times, Carole began “jogging and biking around the neighborhoods, hoping that her sweat could signal the dog that her family was near.” They also left Katie’s blanket, bowl, and their used clothing around the area.
The desperate couple also had hair shavings and horse manure shipped from their farm back home, hoping that the familiar smells would attract Katie. They followed-up on every lead and bought night-vision goggles to use when searching for the dog at night.
They did everything in their power to get Katie back. But still, the circumstances looked bleak.
Thirty-seven days after Katie’s disappearance, Carole needed to go back home to Washington for her postal carrier job. When she learned that she couldn’t take any more days off, she gave her notice. Quitting her job was the last thing that she expected to do during this time, but she felt that she had to do it for her dog.
“Katie was just more important to me. I just said, ‘I’ll finish this week, and that’s it.’” she said.
Carole returned to Kalispell while Verne had to leave the town and come back home to care for the farm and their other pets.
Fifty-three days into the search, Carole was on the brink of giving up, but her husband encouraged her to keep going. Luckily for them, the community in Kalispell joined them in finding Katie. One person let her stay in their home, and others let her search their property.
On the fifty-seventh day, good news finally came. Carole received a tip that one of the residents near the hotel saw a dog matching Katie’s description in their backyard. Carole rushed to the location, but there was no dog in sight. A friend searched around the area with her, and a couple told them that they saw a dog sitting under a nearby tree.
Everyone began calling for Katie, and the dog finally appeared and jumped right into her owner’s arms!
“All I could think about was, ‘I’m done. I got her,’” Carole said. “I was crying, I was holding onto her, wrapped her up in a bear hug. I couldn’t get her in the car fast enough to close her in so I wouldn’t lose her again.”
The poor dog was on the brink of starvation when she was found. Katie had lost 12 pounds and was severely hydrated. Fortunately, the vet said that she’s expected to make a complete recovery.
“I never gave up. I never lost hope,” Carole said.
Aside from finding Katie, there was one beautiful thing that Carole and Verne got to see from this whole ordeal.
“I think what I got out of this was the kindness of strangers,” Carole said.
Quitting her job was a big sacrifice, but Carole did it out of pure love for her dog – her family – who mattered more to her.
We’re so glad that Katie is back home with her owners! Watch the dog’s touching reunion with Verne back in their Washington home.