It’s a story showing the kindness of strangers: two friends from Massachusetts set out to find a lost puppy. They went the extra mile and used technology to track her down.
Seven-month-old Jack Russell Terrier puppy, Kanyon, and her sister, Kai, got loose after hearing something in the woods by their home in Dighton, Massachusetts. “They both pulled the leashes from my wife’s hand and proceeded to go off in the woods,” owner Steve Adams said.
Adams’ wife found Kai two days later, but Kanyon was nowhere to be found. Adams searched in the woods every moment he could. “I never heard a bark,” he said. “I encountered two coyotes in the process.”
The family posted about their lost dog on Facebook -- and that’s where Maaike de Jong comes in. “I’m like the puppy locator,” de Jong laughed.
She searched the area with a man and his tracking dog. After no sighting of Kanyon, de Jong asked her friend Scott Pitta for help. Pitta is a former professional helicopter pilot, veteran and now a drone pilot and consultant.
“I just knew that she was out there. I never give up hope for our pets.”
Pitta flew his drone up to 400 feet above the woods. He used a thermal camera to determine the best spots to look. Finally, after climbing over briar patches and over a brook, the two heard a bark. “As soon as I got to the other side of the briar patch, the barking got more feverish,” Pitta said.
Kanyon spotted Pitta and began barking -- more of a protective sound, Pitta believes. When she realized the man approaching her was not a threat, she began whimpering. Kanyon’s leash was tangled in a briar patch. She was ready to head home after nine days without food and water, battling rainstorms, cold temperatures and predators.
“Against all odds, it’s next to a miracle.”
Pitta couldn’t believe it either. “With the temperatures, the weather we had, that dog shouldn’t have made it. Statistically, she should not be here,” Pitta said.
Meanwhile, de Jong credited the community for banding together and said she will always do whatever it takes to help a family and pet in need. “She’s a little fighter, this one,” she said. Kanyon is back to her energetic self. Adams said he is sure she will not be venturing from home anytime soon.
Our affiliate NBC10 News in Massachusetts contributed to this story.