We have a dog story that many in our community have said was worth sharing. We recently lost Leo, our five-pound Chihuahua, for three nights and four days in the worst winter weather Seattle has seen in a while. An army of friends and complete strangers came together to look for our little guy, but in the end it was dogs that found our lion.
We went for a walk in Lincoln Park (a 135 acre park in West Seattle) on Thursday, February 11th. When Leo pounced on another dog, the handle of his retractable leash jumped out of my hand and jumped at Leo, startling him and basically “chasing him. He raced into the forest and we lost him. We searched from 2:45 p.m. to 9:30 a.m. that evening. The next day we started at 5 a.m. and searched the day until 7:30 p.m. when the snow began to fall heavily.
Dozens of friends and concerned strangers joined our search through local neighborhood blogs, lost dog Facebook pages, and flyers posted throughout the park and surrounding areas. Among them was a gentleman who had a Champion Bloodhound and took up the search when we were too exhausted to continue. On Friday the Bloodhound named Townes took Leos odor and searched through the worst snowstorm from 7:30 pm to 2:00 am and on Saturday from 5:30 pm to 10:30 pm. The storm threw nine inches of snow into our area, making it impossible for us to get into the park. Meanwhile, the temperature in Seattle dropped to 28 degrees, and the wind chill made it feel like eight degrees.
When the snow stopped falling on Sunday, people went back to the park. A man named Tom called me at noon and said he heard a desperate scream (just one scream). We sent it to the park and asked every hiker we passed to help find it. One of them was a woman with a dog named Storm; I let Storm smell one of Leo’s toys and asked him to find my boy. He sniffed twice and ran away. Storm found him in a matter of minutes !!! Leo’s lead was tangled in some twigs and he was curled up at the foot of a tree, cold, wet and hungry!
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We took him for an emergency vet check-up and it was found that he is perfectly fine. No hypothermia or dehydration. Amazing! (A quick and unsolicited product promotion: we absolutely believe his Chilly Dog wool sweater kept him alive through the blizzard.)
The search for our lost pup restored our trust in humanity. There was an outpouring of goodness; People gave their time and energy to go out each day to search and offered suggestions and lots of prayers! But ultimately, it was Townes the Bloodhound who confirmed Leo was trapped in the area, and Storm who found him.
Leo was lost on February 11th and found on February 14th, Valentine’s Day. He now has a new name: Leo Valentino. Such a tough little guy!