A North Carolina family is celebrating after a sweet reunion that brought them back together with Kali, their beloved 7-year-old dog.
The group was separated in the Canadian wilderness as they hiked near Rebecca Falls on the Canada-Minnesota border. Kali, a collie/golden retriever mix, missed a jump and was swept away by fast-moving water.
Owner Dave Kareken, aware that the odds of her surviving were slim.
“We called and searched for hours trying to find her but there was no sign of her,” he told USA Today.
Heartbroken, the group — made up of Kareken, his wife, Joy Neily and their son, Zachary Kareken eventually had no choice but to call it quits on the search. Kareken and Neily returned to Asheville, N.C.; son Zachary went to camp in Minnesota. Kareken’s heart ached.
“We lost a member of our family,” Dave Kareken said. “I’d never felt anything like it.”
But Kali’s story wasn’t meant to be a tragedy.
Ten days later, Kareken got an unexpected phone call. Kali, hungry but otherwise in good health, had survived for a week and a half in the wilderness when she wandered into a campsite.
“To find out she’s alive, I collapsed,” Kareken said. “I just fell to my knees in disbelief and prayer and thanks.”
A 20-hour drive back to where Kali had been lost and the pair were overjoyed to see one another again — as you can see in the video taken by Kareken’s friend. Kali and Kareken shared many happy dog kisses.
“It was dream-like, really,” Kareken said of the miracle reunion. “She’s as much of the family as any of us.”