BILLINGS- For pet owners, there’s no worse feeling than your animal going missing.
Jade, an Australian Shepherd, defied odds by surviving 44 days in the wild of Yellowstone National Park.
Michelle Caffrey wrote a book about Jade’s journey. Michelle was in Billings over the weekend signing copies of her book.
David Sowers and Laura Gillice were involved in a head-on crash and had to be life-flighted from the area.
Jade, an already flighty dog, was spooked by the emergency workers.
"Her case broke open, and out she ran into the meadow and would not come in." Caffrey said.
Her owners, distraught, returned to Yellowstone several times, even leaving the hospital early against their doctor’s advice.
"They couldn’t find her, and the Yellowstone employees heard about it, and over 100 people banded together to find Jade and bring her home," Caffrey said.
They hung posters and created "Bring Jade home" social media pages, which inspired the name of the book.
"Occasionally somebody saw her run out and grab some roadkill and run back. She was thin. But as long as she was being seen, they were going to find her," Caffrey said.
They tried to trap her with smelly dog food, clothes with her owner’s scent, and recordings of their voices calling her.
"They even thought of tranquilizer darts, but they were afraid they would hit her and she’d run away and then they couldn’t find her in the woods," Caffrey said.
The odds were against them. The longest a dog had survived lost in the park was two weeks, but they never quit. Caffrey spoke to some who had looked for Jade.
"Why did you do this, why did you spend hours searching for a stranger’s dog? And I think what sums it up is, if I had lost my dog, they’re a part of my family, I’d want someone to do this for me," Caffrey said.
Though no one can really know how she made it, Jade and her owners were eventually reunited.
"Help you realize how great these dogs are, and how great people can be when the band together for a common cause. And they did, and it was really, the more people I talked to, the more amazed I was at how great people can be," Caffrey said.
Jade is now 4 years old and healthy. To read the full story, and find out exactly how Jade was found, check out Caffrey’s book.