Facebook: Kelly McDuffie

Missing Dog Found After Surviving 11 Days in National Park

This dog was lost for 11 days! A couple of hikers found this lost dog on a trail near a waterfall. I'm so happy this story ends well as 11 days is a long time for a dog to be out in the wilderness.

Hiker Kelly McDuffie was out in the Shenandoah National Park. Let's first provide context as the Shenandoah National Park extends along the Blue Ridge Mountains in the U.S. state of Virginia. The mostly forested Skyline Drive runs its length, wiith a huge network of trails that includess a section of the long-distance Appalachian Trail.

This dog is SO lucky. The idea that McDuffie found this dog at all is a miracle.

Max, the golden retriever, went missing at the national park on July 4. This is the holiday where most dogs are lost, so we've written about the importance of microchips here. 

The hikers were picking blackberries, and the golden retriever had settled himself in a low, partially-hidden spot. How long had Max been there! WTOP News reports that because posters with a photo of Max had been put up in key locations around the park, the hikers immediately recognized him. 


Max eventually decided to trust them enough to eat a little and eventually the hiker attached a rope to his collar to lure him out of his spot.

"Max stood up, but he couldn't walk. The hikers weren't sure if the dog was injured, but they knew he was too heavy to carry very far. So, they walked a short distance to a fire road where they could get cell service and called park rangers, who came with a stretcher to carry the dog to safety."

The dog was taken to a vet, and it was reported that the dog had lost ten pounds.

If Max hadn't been found that day I'm not sure what his fate would have been as it sounds like he was beyond exhausted at that point. This is honestly my worst nightmare and all dogs out for hikes in areas like this should consider GPS collars.

Backpacking and day hikes in this area are super popular, but this dog could have been anywhere at any given time. I'm so glad they reunited him with his family!

This pup is so lucky, please let us know what you think below? 

This article was originally published July 24, 2019. Max's story serves as a reminder to ALWAYS keep your dogs within sight in the wildnerness!

WATCH NOW: Doggie Water Fountain Looks Like Too Much Fun!