Dog Reunited with Owner After 53 Days in Nevada Desert

Dooley, a Shetland Sheepdog, had gone missing after a car accident in December.

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Shannon Sustacha / AP

This Feb. 18, 2012 photo provided by Shannon Sustacha shows Barbara Bagley and her Shetland Sheepdog Dooley after the two were reunited, east of Battle Mountain, Nev.

After a devastating car accident left Barbara Bagley’s husband and one of her dogs dead, she held to hope that her other Sheltland Sheepdog, Dooley, was still out there, somehow surviving in the unforgiving Nevada desert. Fifty-three days later, Dooley was recovered — scared and skinny, but safe — just five miles from the crash scene.

The December accident happened in a remote area of Nevada, sending both Bagley and her husband, Brad Vom Baur, to the hospital with severe injuries. Their other dog, Delaney, was found dead at the scene, but 4-year-old Dooley had vanished.

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While Bagley, 48, suffered a concussion, two punctured lungs, broken ribs and a broken wrist, as soon as she was able, she organized a search for her lost pup using Facebook. But before volunteers could even get started, the search was called off, after remains of a dog were found along the interstate where the accident occurred. That same day, Bagley’s husband succumbed to his injuries and passed away.

“It was a horrible day for me,” Bagley told the Associated Press. “But something inside me told me Dooley was still alive out there.”

Her instinct was right. Over the next month, a dog matching Dooley’s description was spotted in the area numerous times. While Dooley slyly evaded rescuers on a few occassions, eventually he was cornered and taken to be reunited with his long-lost companion.

Dooley survived on eating roadkill and drinking from different water sources, but besides dropping 20 pounds and needing a bird bone removed from his throat, the Sheltie was no worse for the wear. Dooley and Bagley are now recovering together.

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