Dog reunited with family after lost in the Wasatch County wild for nearly 10 days
Oct 16, 2023, 10:38 AM | Updated: 11:00 am
HIGHLAND — Family members said Sunday they were grateful to have their dog back and in relative good health after the pet vanished in the wild for nearly 10 days.
Cory and Kristen Edwards said on Oct. 1 they were visiting family in the Heber Valley and had left their white golden retriever, Sundance, in the relative’s fenced backyard.
“While Sundance was in the backyard, she started to explore the backyard and found an area in the back fence where one of the planks had come loose and wiggled her way out,” Cory Edwards told KSL 5.
Cory Edwards said he walked around the neighborhood and started yelling and calling for Sundance with no response.
“Eventually it got dark and we realized we were going to have to drive back home to Utah County without our dog,” he said. “It’s pretty tough to tell your kids, look your kids in the eye and say, ‘our dog is gone.’”
Over the next several days, the family expanded the search, putting up missing posters in the community and posting to social media, which began to generate leads in an area the family thought would have been improbable for their pet to reach, Victory Ranch. It’s located as many as 15 miles from where Sundance was last seen.
“As the crow flies, it’s probably 10 to 15 miles from where we were,” Edwards said. “There was a resident in Victory Ranch that had seen a dog on his security camera and that took us up there but it still required 4 more days of searching.”
On the tenth day of searching, Oct. 10, Edwards said a man they had previously contacted in that area was on a Polaris Ranger taking a couple of women to a shooting range when he spotted Sundance about 300 feet off of the dirt trail on the mountainside.
The family couldn’t get to the trail fast enough.
“I look up and just up the hill from me I can see her ears perk up,” Edwards said. “Then I said, ‘Sundance, do you want to go home and get a treat’ and she just came running down the trail and jumped into my arms.”
Sundance was dehydrated and dirty. Edwards said her paws were “raw like hamburger,” she had a pronounced limp and she had lost weight but the family has since worked to nurse the dog back to health with the help of a veterinarian.
They continued to keep an eye on a possible injury to one of the dog’s legs, but said Sundance seemed happy and the dog showed energy and agility Sunday playing with Edwards’ kids, Elise and Walker, in their backyard.
Kristen Edwards expressed gratitude as she petted Sundance.
“It definitely is an answered prayer,” she said. “The depth of despair we felt, the grief we felt was really real.”
Her husband shared that sentiment and noted how remarkable it was the community helped to find their dog given how far she had wandered.
“All of it is over really rough, mountainous wilderness terrain with not a lot of water,” Cory Edwards said. “Having her back that day, bringing her home to our children—it was like Christmas.”