Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: DOG (08/09/18)
- TITLE: Dakota's Miracle
By Darlene Kennedy
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Dakota, confused and exhausted, slowly walked toward him and collapsed in his arms. So ended a three-week journey that left our friends and neighbors shaking their heads in wonder and disbelief. It was our family's answer to prayer.
Dakota (Koti) was part wolf, part shepherd. She was a gentle soul. She never ventured far from home but was content to bask in the sun and keep watch over our riverfront property.
It was Thanksgiving week and Koti went missing. After three days of searching and calling, we faced the probability that she had wandered off to die. Age had taken its toll, leaving her half blind and hard of hearing.
We did put the word out though, just in case. Everyone on our road knew her so they were keeping an eye out. Our first clue that she was still alive came from our mailman. "I saw Koti up on Cobb Hammock Road running with a group of dogs a couple of days ago."
I could hardly believe it. That would have been so out of character for her. He must have been mistaken.
But a week later, a neighbor called. "I was up at the cemetery and saw Koti standing in the nearby woods." We rushed there and spent more than an hour calling to her with no luck.
That's when I began to panic. My emotions were all over the place. Cold weather had set in early that year accompanied by rainy conditions. It was more comforting to believe Koti was dead than to think of her out there somewhere lost and confused. Maybe this woman was mistaken and she didn't see Koti at all.
No, it was her. Sightings became more frequent. One friend called, "I was coming home from the store and Koti was standing by the interstate. I pulled over and tried to coax her into my car, but she bolted."
My husband hurried out right away but she was gone. He spent days riding around the area, hoping to get a glimpse of her, to no avail.
He inquired of strangers at local gas stations and convenience stores, some of whom said they saw her. From their sightings, it became evident that she was walking directionless up and down the same highway, clueless as to where she was.
For three weeks, we searched relentlessly praying for the best but fearing the worst. Reality began to set in that Koti might never come home. How long could she survive out there on her own, tired and confused? How was she eating? What if she got hit by a passing car? What if someone saw her and mistook her for a wild animal and shot her? My fears were getting the best of me.
Then, in a divine moment of clarity, my daughter took to social media. She posted on a local lost pets website and received an immediate response. A woman wrote, "Your dog has been hanging around our neighborhood for weeks but won't let anyone get close to her. She seems to be following the river."
Others chimed in. Yes, they had seen her. A state trooper called my daughter. "I saw your dog out by the rest area a few days ago and threw her a Nutrigrain bar."
A minister's son called. "Dad and I were mowing grass at the church a couple of weeks ago and saw her standing at the edge of the woods."
Armed with that information, my daughter and husband took to the road. They vowed to search all day until they found her. The events that followed are nothing short of a miracle.
They had barely begun their search when another call came in from that state trooper. "I see your dog. She is walking the highway near Morgan Bluff Rd." Amazingly, my daughter was just minutes away from there at that exact moment. Praise God! Our miracle girl had been found!
We nursed her back to health and were blessed to have our beautiful Koti safe at home until her peaceful passing the following Autumn.
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