Justin Scott couldn’t believe it when he took the call – an animal rescuer had found his support dog. Somehow the poor mutt had survived in the wild for a month on her own. Yet as he waited for their reunion, Scott couldn’t help but wonder how his dog would react to seeing him again.
Scott has an inspiring – if very stressful – job. To be more precise, he works as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) in Santa Clarita, California. No doubt he’s responded to his share of difficult calls, but one situation in particular stayed with him.
That’s because it was an occasion where the EMT attended to a friend of his. Despite the best efforts of medical personnel, though, no one could save his buddy, who tragically died. As a consequence, Scott was understandably devastated.
In fact, the catastrophic event scarred him so much that Scott wisely decided he needed some additional emotional support. With that in mind, he and his wife – Sarah Adcock, a fellow EMT – decided to get themselves a dog. The canine companion would have a very special job.
To be specific, the couple were searching for a support dog to assist Scott in his hour of need. “We waited until we found the perfect dog for us,” the medical professional wrote on a Facebook post dated July 23, 2018. And when the couple set eyes on Shelby, they knew she was the one.
“The day I paid for Shelby,” Scott recounted, “I looked at her still in the shelter parking lot. And told her, ‘I saved you, and now I need you to save me,’ and she did. She pulled me out of the grips of hell.”
“She’s my best friend and my shelter from the storm,” the EMT continued. Man and dog did everything together, so it’s no surprise that Scott also took Shelby on a family getaway. The canine went on a camping trip with her humans to celebrate the Fourth of July.
The group set off on the six-hour trip to the Eastern Sierras where their camping site awaited. However, when they got there, something terrible happened. Shelby became unnerved for some unknown reason and took off for the perceived safety of the trees.
Needless to say, Scott was beside himself with worry for Shelby, so the family pulled out all the stops in an effort to find her. They scoured the area, laying traps to catch the missing dog as they went. But what the lures ended up attracting no doubt concerned Scott even more.
Although there was no sign of Shelby, her humans watched while their traps drew in a number of inquisitive bears. Would their dog be a match for such a powerful, hungry animal? Regardless, Scott felt he owed Shelby so much; he couldn’t just leave her to the outdoors’ mercy.
As a result, after nearly two weeks’ searching, Scott called on Babs Fry to help find the missing hound. A kind of pet detective, Fry is the founder of the non-profit pet search and rescue group, A Way Home For Animals (AWHFA). If anyone could locate Shelby, she could.
On August 3, 2018, Fry told The Dodo about her initial attempts and how they came up empty. “Through communicating with everyone in the area, signs, camp host and general store we were able to make sure that anyone that saw the dog knew exactly who to call,” she said.
Thanks to her communications network, Fry soon received news that Shelby had been spotted in the general area. The rescue expert then carried out a reconnaissance mission of the vicinity, taking note of any possible food and water sources that the dog might frequent. Next, Fry set out all five traps she’d brought with her and waited.
However, after days spent sticking around, Fry’s efforts to so much as glimpse Shelby were to prove fruitless. Just when the situation looked dire, though, she received a call. Someone had observed her mark 45 minutes away venturing out on a nocturnal food raid.
Fry sped to the scene to lay her traps and, sure enough, the hungry hound fell for one. There was just one thing left to do before chalking it up as a job well done: arranging the reunion between Shelby and her humans. Scott, Adcock and their two kids were eagerly awaiting their furry family member’s return.
Scott recorded the moment the whole family was reunited and uploaded it to his Facebook on August 2, 2018. The video shows how Shelby slowly approaches Adcock, almost as if she’s unsure it’s really happening. Initially a little hesitant, the dog then starts showering her mommy with kisses.
Next, Shelby stands on her hind legs to greet her daddy, the dog’s docked tail wagging at breakneck speed. Now it’s Scott’s turn to see how much Shelby missed him, as the mutt licks his face like she’s enjoying a tasty bone. The pure joy on Scott’s face as he embraces his best friend is tear-jerking.
Shelby’s so happy to see her family again, her little tail stump won’t stop wiggling. Then she settles down into Scott’s lap and rolls on her back for some tummy rubs. All the while she’s with her master, Shelby gazes up at him with unconditional love.
The video ends with Shelby in Scott’s arms surrounded by the whole family. The amazing thing is that the dog survived in the wild surrounded by bears for an extraordinary 28 days. No wonder the pooch was so happy to see her family again!
Before Fry found the dog, Scott had written a message on Facebook. It read: “Shelby, you sat by my side and laid in my lap until I could stand on my own. We will get you back; we will never give up on you. I saved you once, and we will save you again.” Ultimately, with Fry’s heroic help, Scott was true to his word.