Meet the dog who survived a blizzard and a wildfire to reunite with its owner
One owner and his four-legged companion were reunited after a four-month separation.
Dog owners’ worst scenarios include being separated from their pets for months and not knowing if they’ll ever be reunited. Unfortunately for Ricardo Rodriguez and his dog, Russ, that dread came true.
Russ joined Rodriguez on a camping vacation near Lake Tahoe in the summer of 2021, and the two had a great time. Everything was going swimmingly until Russ was startled by the unfamiliar surroundings and escaped into the bush. Rodriguez never saw Russ again, and search efforts to track him down were fruitless.
In the months that followed Rodriguez’s visit, the Lake Tahoe region was hit by a number of tragedies.
The Caldor Fire, which raged through Northern California at the end of August, prompted Gov. Gavin Newsom to issue an emergency proclamation for the region. Firefighters battled to keep the blaze from spreading to the Lake Tahoe basin, but the blaze consumed more than 114,000 acres and destroyed more than 500 structures. More than 22,000 South Tahoe residents were forced to leave their homes due to high winds in the area.
It wasn’t until late December that the West Coast was slammed by what appeared to be an incredibly rare snowfall, which dumped almost two feet in certain areas of the Lake Tahoe region.
Due to the dire circumstances, Rodriguez was certain he’d never see Russ again.
It wasn’t over yet, however. Following the snowstorm, TLC 4 Furry Friends and Tahoe PAWS owner Wendy Jones says she received a call about a puppy in need of rescue.
Jones enlisted the help of two volunteers, Elsa and Leona, who braved the subzero weather to scour the snow for Russ. It wasn’t long until they noticed Russ in the distance, curled up in a ball, his head up.
This is what Leona described as a “absolute joy.” the instant they found Russ.
I believe both of us figured this was going to be a recovery, rather than rescue,” she said. Throughout the day, he’d spent the majority of his time up there, where it was bitterly cold and snowing.
This is what Leona described as an “absolute joy.” the instant they found Russ.
I believe both of us figured this was going to be a recovery, rather than a rescue,” she said. Throughout the day, he’d spent the majority of his time up there, where it was bitterly cold and snowing.
Russ came around to the two after a lot of persuasion.
Elsa remarked, “We were going to get him, no matter how long it took us.”
It was only a matter of time before he could be returned to his rightful owner. It was fortunate that Russ had a microchip, which allowed animal service authorities to locate Rodriguez, who was hundreds of miles away in Southern California, and reunite him with Russ.
“I couldn’t believe my ears,” Rodreguiz told me.
“I thought It was a work phone call, so I answered it by saying, “How may I assist you?” “We found your dog out in the snow,” they said.” Rodreguiz had a flashback. “I’m like, ‘In the snow? What? Where?'”
Rodreguiz stated he couldn’t believe what he was hearing until he met Russ.
“If I tried to put myself in that position I don’t think I would’ve done it,” Rodriguez said of his four-legged companion. “This guy is something else right here. He’s been through it all.”