At 8:30 this past Monday morning, Kris Anderson was asleep in her bed when her dog Georgia burst into the bedroom to join her. But there’s more to the story than just a happy pet ready to wake her owner up and start the day.
Georgia, an 8-year-old Shar Pei mix had vanished in late June in the Los Penasquitos Canyon Preserve, 35 miles from her home in Carlsbad, California. So that excited morning greeting was a complete shock to Kris Anderson, who had all but given up hope of ever seeing her beloved pet again.
On an outing to the preserve nine days earlier, Georgia’s owner let her off-leash because the dog loves to run. Kris says the dog simply got lost while chasing after some rabbits. After searching for hours, Kris was told by authorities that the dog would most likely not survive in the coyote-filled region, but she refused to stop looking. Accompanied by her daughter, she drove the 70-mile round trip day after day, continuing to search even as the likelihood of success dimmed.
Veterinarian Luis Lizarraga, who examined Georgia shortly after her return says that the dog is in remarkably good shape considering what she has endured, including a rugged hike through canyons populated by predators and rattlesnakes, nearby heavy traffic, a torrential rainstorm, and 4th of July fireworks. The dog managed to walk the 35 miles home in nine days. She was exhausted and covered in scratches, and had lost a noticeable amount of weight during her ordeal.
In the final steps of her long journey, Georgia pushed open the gate to her yard and made her way through the doggy door, right into the arms of her amazed owner.
Kris never thought there was much danger in letting her pet off-leash, but she admits that she knows better now and has made a vow not to make that same mistake again.
Lizarraga says that as a veterinarian he’s heard stories of dogs doing things like this, but until Georgia he’s never actually seen it for himself. “She’s absolutely very lucky” he says, reporting that the dog is doing well and starting to gain back the weight that her long walk home cost her.