Help is all around…even when we can’t see it

As almost a follow-up to yesterday’s post, about claiming your dreams and not giving up on them, on Sunday, JoAnne F. (one of the White Feather Farm community) posted this deeply inspiring true story of the power of hope, prayer, and the help that comes from expected and unexpected places; the seen and the unseen forces that are working for good, even when we are unaware of them.

“After Christmas last year a couple and their two dogs were on I80 going from Reno back to Utah. They had a roll-over accident outside Battle Mountain. The couple was airlifted to a hospital in Reno where the man died a few days later. One dog was found with the car and the other ran off into the sage brush. The woman was devastated of course at the loss of her spouse, but not knowing what happened to Dooley (their dog) was dreadful. A local group started looking for Dooley. Dog tracks in the mud were found but no Dooley. People came on horseback and with search dogs to join in the search. A week later animal body fragments were found which were thought to be Dooley so the search was stopped.

Four weeks later someone reported seeing a dog at the accident site! The search was resumed. By this time Barbara (dog owner) was out of the hospital and even though she was still sore and healing she joined in the search. Dooley was spotted a few times but he was by this time in survival mode and ran from everyone (even Barbara) They could not get close to him so they put out cage traps in hopes of containing Dooley. The weather turned cold, it snowed and hopes of capturing him were growing dim. Dooley had been in the desert for 7 weeks now without food or water to speak of and no shelter. Then last night we got a call — Dooley had been found! Barbara managed to capture him and he is now home and malnourished but in pretty good shape otherwise. We have been praying for Dooley for almost 2 months now and our prayers have been answered! …

The community here really pulled together in the search for this dog. Folks even spent the night in tents and RV’s out in the desert just hoping they would spot him. How he survived all that time is beyond me but we are all rejoicing today to know that he is home safe and sound. Part of this story that moves me so is the help and support that Barbara got in this search. People didn’t know her or the dog and they just wanted to help. I had friends that spent days trudging through the sage brush just looking. People donated the use of search dogs and folks came in on horses. It was amazing. Never give up hope!”

The essence of optimism is that it takes no account of the present, but it is a source of inspiration, of vitality and hope where others have resigned..” Dietrich Bonhoeffer

25 thoughts on “Help is all around…even when we can’t see it”

  1. I read something similar in Life With Dogs about a Corgi who survived an avalanche (but the poor dog lost one of its owners). I sent this out to all my dog loving friends, entitled it “Of Grit and Determination – Little Corgi Survives.” Very inspirational story much like the one above.

    This is the story:

    Corgi Survives Four Day Burial by Killer Avalanche

    When a sliding wall of snow overtook a Montana family during a Saturday ski trip, it was assumed that the family pet perished in the avalanche – until he was found four days later, exhausted and laying on the doorstep of the family’s hotel room.

    The tired, hungry dog was first spotted by Alpine Motel owner Robert Weinstein, who was shocked to find ‘Ole’ waiting patiently for his master to return.

    “I just saw it outside sitting by the room, which is pretty amazing,” he said. Weinstein fed the weary canine before making a few phone calls to confirm its identity.

    “I wasn’t 100 percent sure because I’d only seen it once or twice,” he said.

    Ole was with his family when the avalanche occurred near Hayden Creek, just southeast of Billings. His master, Dave Gaillard, 44, of Bozeman, died when he became trapped under 12 to 14 feet of tightly packed snow. When he was not found afterward, his family assumed that Ole had been buried alive, and suffocated.

    If he was buried, the resilient little dog would have had into dig his way out from under the crushing snowpack before traversing four miles of rough terrain in freezing temperatures in order to make his way back to the Alpine Motel.

    “The family is super excited,” said Mark Staples, of the Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center, which investigated the incident. “It’s one bright spot for them.”

    Cooke City businessman Bill Whittle volunteered to drive Ole back to his family on Wednesday, and said he was in good spirits despite his ordeal.

    “We needed this. It kind of cheered everyone up,” he said. “It’s a miracle.”

    Update: (1-7-12) A skier trekked into the Hayden Creek drainage Thursday to retrieve video proof that Ole had indeed been buried alive, and what he found was irrefutable evidence of a remarkable tale of survival and determination. Ben Zavora documents his findings in the following clip.

  2. Love the posts of yesterday and today. Faith, hope and perseverance are evident in the humans and the canines, a very good thing indeed!

  3. For those who are willing to make an effort, great miracles and wonderful treasures are in store.
    Isaac Bashevis Singer

  4. I can’t tell you how many prayers went out for this dog and Barbara. The other dog did die in the accident so Barbara was especially determined to save Dooley. Last I heard was Salt Lake local news was on the way to interview Barbara and to air the story and the Ellen show was making inquiries about having Barbara and Dooley on her show. This may not be the end of this story. Miracles happen all the time! The story of Ole was amazing!

  5. I can never get enough of stories such as these. Happy endings, especially the long-shot types, restore my faith.

  6. What an uplifting story Mary….thank you so much for sharing it with us and how loving, caring and admirable of all those who searched so tirelessly for Dooley. Plus all the Prayers that were being said for him to be found and returned to Barbara. God listens.

  7. pure wonder and a warming love story. for all souls gone astray—-four-legged and human, my heart stretches toward hope and being “found”

    thanks, mary, for the posts; i love you for bringing us together to uplift and laugh together

  8. Yes, never give up hope. This is hitting a chord with me, especially now. Our son has been going through some difficult times and recently told us he didn’t believe in God. I (and many others) have been praying for him. Last night after we left a wake for a wonderful man my son said to me, “You know that song Walking in Memphis? The part where she says son are you a Christian and he says, Ma’am I am tonight? That’s how I feel right now.” I had tears in my eyes as I said thank you to the good Lord above. I know we have many more challenges ahead in the teen years but I just keep leaning on my God and let Him help.

    1. Cathy, that’s a precious story. We may lose sight of God, but He never loses sight of us, or lets us go.

  9. We have many miracles at our animal shelter. They give us hope and energy and joy. Often the animals seem to choose their new owners by hopping on their laps or weaving around their feet. Hop on down to your local shelter and bring home a forever friend!

  10. I like to think of inspiration as the holy creative spirit ‘in’ spiriting us, – for example, the sheer volume of music that Mozart composed – symphonies, concerti, sonatas – music seemed to stream from him as if from some divine fountain. We are in-spirited by God when we are open to igniting the creative spark within us. I love the quote on optimism, Mary, – with every dawn we are given a new slate. So glad you start your day filling ours with hope!

  11. I’m reminded of one of the scriptures/expressions repeated recently at Whitney Houston’s services that nothing can separate me from the love of my God. No matter how high the mountain top or how low the valley…or the desert…or the avalanche…or the teen years…He is there…such wonderful stories of hope and faith and belief and joy…Thank you!

  12. We lost our dog several years ago. She wandered for 2 weeks before she finally came to me. It was amazing how many people helped us. She was on
    the prayer list at a church in the area where she was lost. People would call no matter when they saw her running just to let us know she was still alive. It was pretty amazing how many people helped us look for her.

    1. Cindy D! What a wonderful way to close out the day (that is unless someone is still up at WFF!) – I feel sometimes like I am a little kid walking downstairs late at night, to see if the light is still on – will somebody offer me a chair, a place, to listen in on conversations? to maybe offer a thought? It all happens here, dear Mary Muncil, no matter what time of day we tune in! Thank you Cindy again for such a lovely rescue and prayer story. Makes and ends my day with gratitude!

      1. Here’s a chair, dear Susan; please have a rest.
        Ever since I was a child watching Lassie and Rin Tin Tin rescue stories, I’ve always loved the REAL ones most of all. It never ceases to amaze me how these creatures finds their way back home. To Cindy D and JoAnne F: It is a testament to love that these dogs are alive and reunited!!
        Love, love, love this kind of news update!

  13. Such an inspiration to read! I have many books about animals and how they have affected people’s lives and what they mean to us. I never get tired of reading about the animals in our lives. We have a dog and two stray kitties that are no longer strays. I am sorry for the loss of her husband and other dog.

  14. This brought tears to my eyes. All the best to Barbara and Dooley; I’ll be doing some chanting for them to continue their healing. Such faith and hope shared amongst strangers with a love for animals really gives us a boost, doesn’t it?

    On the topic of survivors making appearances on “Ellen” and other talk shows, I want to share a story about a group of hikers who got lost on Oregon’s Mount Hood about 5 years ago. They had GPS locators with them and survived the night with one of their members’ dog, “Velvet” moving from one to another keeping them warm. A search and rescue team got to them the next day, and “Velvet”, a black Shepherd mix who happened to be smart, social, a therapy dog and classroom helper (and very photogenic), was checked out and pronounced healthy by a vet at Portland’s local emergency animal hospital. Later, she and her owner, a schoolteacher, went on several TV shows (she handled the fuss of being on “Ellen” like a pro, hitting every mark on cue), and he and his friends gathered the funds they collected from these appearances and started a fund at that same emergency animal hospital, for the purpose of assisting people in need to have their animals treated.

    To this day “The Velvet Fund” at Dove Lewis Animal Hospital helps people whose pets need to have treatments and can’t afford them. One can contribute directly to the fund, and the local community holds fundraisers to keep it going.
    So, as easy as it is to get cynical about the “15 minutes of fame” phenomenon, it can lead to greater good in the world. Just wanted to share that.

    1. Annie! So glad I checked Tuesday’s post this morning (Wednesday) to read your story and learn about the Velvet Fund! Just another example of the wonderful things being shared here at White Feather!

  15. Here’s another one.
    I was a principal at an elementary school in Sutton, Ontario about 5 years ago. The kids were out at recess and repeatedly saw a dog in the forest beside the fenceline but it wouldn’t come close. One of the parent helpers, a dog lover and rescuer, was sure it was the dog who had escaped from a boarding kennel when his owners were on holiday (it had been in the local papers) SEVEN months earlier. It was late spring and the poor thing had been outside through our frigid winters. She set up a trap with food with the local animal control, and IN FRONT of the 450 pupils, we watched the dog creep in and get the food and we had him! The poor dog was skinny and blinded in one eye by a porcupine quill. Animal control phoned the owners and again, in front of everyone, they came and were reunited. It was unbelievable. I will never forget it. We were all crying. The owner brought her back and visited every classroom later in the year–the happy dog’s tail never stalked wagging (it was a golden retriever), he was nice and plumpish and his eye had been medically closed. BEST. EXPERIENCE. EVER!

    1. Wow, more goosebumps! Thanks for sharing that beautiful story Diane! Those kids will never ever forget that day – talk about a lesson!

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