Sadie the 13-year-old papillon pup is home after being lost in the wintery wilds of central P.E.I. for five weeks.
The small-breed black and white dog wandered away from her owner, who lives in the Rustico area, after the wind blew a door ajar.
She was not heard from again until March 7 when she wandered into traffic on Route 2 in Pleasant Valley.
Krista Duguay was driving home to Miscouche that evening and had to maneuver her car around what she initially thought was a skunk on the road, though she quickly realized it was a dog that was in danger.
She pulled over and tried to stop traffic long enough for the pup to shuffle off the highway, but there was at least one close call.
Duguay was eventually able to coax Sadie over to her in a ditch.
“She was terrified. But she came over and when she got close enough I just took my scarf off and wrapped her,” she recalled.
Duguay took the dog to some nearby homes, but no one recognized it. She took it home and put out a call on social media for anyone who might know who it belonged to.
Her post was shared more than 1,400 times.
She was inundated with offers of help, including people willing to rehome the pup or pay for its medical bills.
Eventually the post reached a woman who called her and said the dog belonged to her mother. She sent photos as proof.
The owner drove to Miscouche that same night, arriving at about midnight, Sadie’s favourite blanket in hand.
It was a pretty special reunion, said Duguay.
“Sadie just stared at her for a minute and then just started making all these noises, just little barks. Then of course the woman starts crying, I’m crying, my boyfriend – we’re all crying. It was so emotional,” she said.
Duguay has kept in touch with Sadie’s owner and knows she got a clean bill of health from the vet and has since been cleaned up.
She was not malnourished, so they suspect someone may have been feeding her during her time on the lam.
Duguay would not say who Sadie’s owner was as she was asked not to.
Many of the comments on Duguay’s original post, while she was still looking for Sadie’s owners, were critical of the dog’s owner.
Sadie has some long-standing medical issues that make her walk more of a hobble, which was shown in a short video clip, and her appearance was disheveled in those original social media photos.
Many assumed she had been mistreated by her owner.
“Some people jumped to conclusions and said some awful things,” said Duguay.
“This should be a lesson to us all not to judge so freely. We do not know other people’s stories and should wait for the facts before we jump to conclusions.”