Doogie’s Story: The Search for and Survival of a Very Lucky Dog

Lala King relates the heart-touching story of how Doogie – a loved and lost Scottie – was able to be reunited with his family when the odds were stacked against him.

Doogie and Elly Mae with Sam.
Doogie and Elly Mae with Sam.

 

Doogie’s Story, by Lala King

 

Doogie Davis is a little Scottish terrier that is 18 months old and weighs about 23 pounds. Doogie is Wheaton, or blondish color, which is not that common. Most people don’t know that Scotties come in another color other than black. In my home they are called Sweetie Wheaties with the four-inch legs. I can assure you though, no matter what they are called, these are special little dogs. They certainly have my heart.

Doogie has lived his whole life in south Texas with his mom, Linda, his dad, Sam, and his sister, Elly Mae. Elly Mae taught him all things Scottie and then some. He has been the apple of his mom and dad’s eyes since he was a wee pup. And his big sister’s shadow.

Doogie lived a quiet life with his family and spent his days being spoiled rotten in the way a lot of doggies are lucky enough to be. He is a typical mischievous little boy. He likes to romp and play and aggravate his sister but truthfully, he looked up to her and loved her dearly. But he felt it was his job to be the annoying little brother.

Doogie and Elly Mae were very lucky pups because they got to travel with their mom and dad to far off places. They always knew when an adventure was about to happen because mom and dad would start the preparations and they had learned the signs.

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September 2013 was no different. Mom started packing, dad started checking things and soon they were off. It was fun! Looking out the window, stopping and smelling all of the great spots on the trip. What a great adventure it was! Until….

On Friday September 27th the family – Sam, Linda, Elly Mae and Doogie – were returning home to Texas after visiting friends in Illinois. They were traveling southbound on I-55 just south Osceola, Arkansas when one of the rear tires blew out. The truck slid and pitched and jolted and at one point rolled on its side. The metal crunched and the windows blew out. The people inside were tossed and thrown around like dolls. The little puppy dogs were ejected from the vehicle. When everything stopped, the truck was upright, Sam and Linda were injured, precious little Elly Mae was dead and Doogie was gone.

When Doogie looked back over his shoulder and saw what had happened it made him run faster. He had to get away. The sounds were ringing in his ears. They were horrible, like a monster was on top of him. He ran faster and faster so it could not catch him. He didn’t know how far he had run when he slowed down. He only stopped when he ran out of breath and his side started hurting. But his heart would not slow down. Where was he? Nothing looked familiar. Where were his mom and dad? How come they didn’t come with him? Were they ok? Was Elly ok?

Doogie didn’t understand what had happened. All he knew was that everything was wrong. He walked and walked but never met up with his mom and dad. He couldn’t find them. There were places that he came to that he thought he could pick up their smell, but he was disoriented and wasn’t sure. He lost track of time. When he got hungry he didn’t have a nice bowl of food that mama always put in front of him. He had to eat bugs and little things that he usually played with back home. He slept on the ground in dirt and leaves. Sometimes he was cold but there were no soft blankets to curl up in and snuggle with Elly Mae like he did at home. Life was just wrong. But what could he do? He trudged on day after day, walking and looking for his mom and dad.

There were some pretty cool things out here in this vast desert. He sniffed at everything he came across. A few times he was able to find some cat food and some scraps to eat. But for the most part he was just hungry and thought about his bowl back home. Occasionally he would hear his name being called and he even went towards it, but it wasn’t his mom or dad calling him so he would scoot away and hide.

What Doogie didn’t know is there was a full-scale search going on for him. Sam and Linda were both hurt in the accident. Both were taken to the hospital, Linda by ambulance, and Sam was air lifted from the local school. Sam was to remain in the hospital for a week then sent home to Texas to heal. Linda returned to the accident site more than once but there was no sign of Doogie. When they left for Texas a week later it felt hopeless and they were helpless. Surely Doogie would not survive the elements, especially if he was hurt, but maybe someone saw him and picked him up. There was simply no way to know. Sam and Linda headed home to Texas with very heavy hearts. They missed their beautiful Elly Mae. She meant so very much to them. A wonderful little Scottie they’d had for years. It was painful to let her go. Leaving Doogie was the most painful. Where was he? He is still just a baby. Was he hurt? Scared? Alive? Looking for them? Was he dead, too?

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Once word got out about the accident, it was the talk of the town. And the search for the little white dog began. Residents from all over began looking for him. Everyday people passed the accident site and scanned the area for him. Farmers were looking in the fields. Random people were forming search parties and looking. Flyers started popping up all over the place with Doogie’s picture on it. No one laid eyes on the little dog. The last known sighting was immediately after the accident when a witness said he was seen around mile marker 39.

A week later the Finding Doogie Facebook page was launched, and with it a second wave of Doogie fans got involved. The flyer continued to circulate and people all over the world were joining the effort with support and ideas. A fundraiser was started to raise money to hire a pet petective at the suggestion of several Doogie fans.

Suzie Brooks from the Blytheville Humane Society had been getting ready for their biggest fundraiser of the year when she heard about the accident and Doogie. Juggling work, home and the fundraiser, she made time to go to the accident site several times to search. Her friend and rescue partner Cheri Davis did as well. Eleven days after the crash, Suzie happened to run into the state trooper that worked the accident. What he told her made her think that Elly Mae’s body may still be there. That also made us wonder if Doogie may still be hanging around the accident site because his sister was still there. Suzie and her husband, Gary, who did a huge amount of the work for this over the next three weeks, headed to the accident site where they located Elly Mae’s body and lovingly buried her. They also erected a beautiful cross in her honor. But Doogie was nowhere to be found.

Several carriers with food and some of Doogie and Elly Mae’s personal items were left in hopes it would attract him to that spot. Still, there were no signs of him anywhere.

The little white dog had touched so many hearts that the goal amount for his fundraiser was reached within 12 hours. It was then decided any funds that were above and beyond would go to the Blytheville Humane Society. Karin TarQwyn, the K9 PI was contracted to go to Arkansas with her scent dogs and search for Doogie on Wednesday, October 16. The funds received were enough to also do a mailing to all addresses within a five-mile radius of the accident site. Suzie designed the cards and arranged for them to go out immediately.

Karin TarQwyn searches for Doogie.
Karin TarQwyn searches for Doogie.


Karin arrived and immediately her dogs detected Doogie’s scent and started working. They led Karin and the team of volunteers 12 miles south of the accident (to the ONLY sighting that we could verify). Still no sign of Doogie, but when the day ended, we knew that Doogie was alive and that he was traveling around the area.

It was day 26 and time was crucial. The area needed to be flooded with signs and posters. Karin designed an awareness campaign of such a magnitude that everyone in the area would have an opportunity to see Doogie’s picture. Plus, the post cards were due to arrive in the homes any day. We knew we were going to find him.

With posters, a hammer and a bunch of handmade stakes in hand, Cheri heads out on Friday with her husband, Joe. Along with Gary, they are able to put out 70 signs all over the area. Now, we are in waiting mode, to see if any sightings are reported.

We didn’t have to wait long…. a call from Wilson came in on Saturday, several days before Doogie was seen on someone’s porch eating cat food. Another call comes in Saturday night; he was seen in someone’s yard, also in Wilson. A search party was formed to go door-to-door on Sunday afternoon. We are so close….

Here is my account from Sunday morning. My husband and I got out of church at about 11 am. We had just stopped to see his mother when my phone rang. It was Suzie. Clearly, she was excited. She had received a call that a dog matching Doogie’s description was under someone’s truck, and the man and his brother were trying to keep him there. Suzie and Cheri made their way to this location with A LOT of cooked bacon to get this pup. We hung up. My heart was racing. I couldn’t sit down. Both of us felt good about it, but couldn’t get too excited because the let down would be really bad if it wasn’t him. A few minutes later my phone rang again. Suzie’s number is programmed and it was not her. I answered to find Wendy on the other end. She has a friend that has spotted Doogie. In fact, he had Doogie with him right then. My mind took off in two directions… Suzie was racing to a location where Doogie was under someone’s truck, and then this other person claimed to have Doogie in his possession. I didn’t know what to think, except that if I made it through this without having a heart attack it would be a miracle. Wendy gave me this phone number to call. The number was to Ross Bell. He and his brother Becton had Doogie. In fact, Doogie was sitting in the truck with Becton as we spoke. A feeling of complete relief flooded through me. I had no doubt that this was Doogie. I talked to him for another minute or two. They had already spoken to Suzie and were awaiting her arrival. Doogie seemed fine, just dirty and nervous but he was beginning to calm down.

Kaci Bell had been following the story about Doogie from the beginning. She, like everyone in the area, knew about the accident, knew about sweet Elly Mae and knew about the little white dog that was missing. In fact, she and her girls had searched many times for Doogie. She had also posted flyers at several locations in town. When she read that Doogie had been spotted in Wilson, she sent a message to Becton to be the look out for him. Becton and Ross were on alert.

When Ross spotted the little white dog, Doogie was running across the field. Ross alerted Becton, who then drove across the field to cut him off. Becton called his name and Doogie went running towards him but then skidded to a halt and retreated to safety under the truck. The brothers were having none of that. For 15 minutes they called and coaxed him out from under the truck, lying on the ground trying to soothe the terrified puppy. It finally worked. When Suzie arrived, Doogie was in the truck, dirty, tired and hungry. But safe and alive. We had our Doogie back.

They were half a mile from the accident site.

Earlier, Doogie had been scrounging for food. He was really, really hungry by then. So very tired and his paws hurt. When were mom and dad going to come get him? Why couldn’t he find them? He had managed to wander up to a house that had some cat food out and the resident kitty didn’t seem to mind if he ate some. So he did. He went from house to house, field to field, always under the cover of bushes or the crops. Skittish by nature, he was even more so right now. He planned to stay away from people unless it was mom or dad. Life was not being good to him. He wanted his home. His bed. His bowl.

He was close by a field when he heard really loud noises. He saw big trucks that were cutting down all the tall crops. He wondered how he would hide in there now since everything was gone. Maybe he could still blend in. Suddenly he heard his name and his head whipped up – dad? In the distance his dad was calling him. Doogie took off running towards his voice. Not far from him he realized it was not his dad, but a stranger. Doogie turned and ran under the nearest thing he could find. A big truck. Now there were two strangers saying his name over and over again. He wondered how they knew his name. As frightened as he was, it felt good that someone knew him. He was not completely alone anymore. Maybe he should let this man pet his ears. Maybe he could even pet his back. He was sooooo tired that he didn’t even have the strength to resist when this nice man that knew his name pulled him out from under the truck, scooped him up and put him in the seat of their white truck. Oh, this truck looks like dad’s……

Suzie Brooks (L) and Cheri Davis (R) prepare to take Doogie home.
Suzie Brooks (L) and Cheri Davis (R) prepare to take Doogie home.

 

Once Suzie and Cheri arrived on the scene everything went very fast. There were tears and “ohhs” and “ahhs” and more tears. Doogie ate real food for the first time in 23 days. Doogie got some pictures taken with his new best friends, Becton and Ross. (He hoped Becton wasn’t mad at him for the nip.) And Doogie got lots of lovin. But the love fest was just beginning. He had yet to meet Julie, who helped him to feel so much better, even though it was not the most fun he’d ever had. He didn’t even mind when the doctor poked and prodded him. He was just content to be inside.

Back in the car, Doogie was a little apprehensive. Understandable, since it was not long ago that a car ride ended traumatically for him. But this was a short ride, and he had Suzie with him, and she made everything all right. This rest didn’t last long though, and all Doogie wanted to do was sleep. Early, early the next morning Suzie took him on another long ride and he found himself in a strange building with lots of people. But they didn’t really bother Doogie much. He was soooo sleepy. He kept taking little Scottie naps even though he was trying to look around to see where he was. Then he was with Cheri and they were crammed into this small space. But he was so sleepy he couldn’t look around much before another nap took over. And then it was so loud and his ears kept making a funny noise (from the plane). But he so sleepy….

The next thing Doogie knew, there he was in another car. But, Cheri was still with him so it was ok. When he woke up Cheri was getting him out of the car. Doogie had no idea where he was. Wait! What was that? Who is that? It sounds like… No, it can’t be… MAMA!!!! MAMA!!!!!! MAMA!!!!!!!!

Linda Davis - mom - happily reunited with her Doogie, as Cheri proudly holds up the welcome home sign.
Linda Davis – mom – happily reunited with her Doogie, as Cheri proudly holds up the welcome home sign.

 

For more photos and stories of Doogie’s journey, please visit Finding Doogie.

 

 

 

 

6 thoughts on “Doogie’s Story: The Search for and Survival of a Very Lucky Dog

  1. Great story – glad Duggie was found but just curious – if Linda went back to the accieent site – why didn’t she find Elly Mae and take her home or bury her?

  2. Elly Mae’s body was not laying out in the open. She was hidden in the brush away from the road. When the people who buried her went tto the accident site they had to look for her. It was very difficult to get to and Linda was injured. There was no way that she could physically have gone down the steep embankment then up the other side.
    After a few days it was assumed that the road crew that cleaned up the crash site had moved her. We didn’t know that they either didn’t see her or it wasn’t their “job” to do this. We had no idea until a chance encounter with the State Trooper that worked the accident when he mentioned that she may still be there.

  3. Will people get off Linda’s back about not burying Elly Mae?! You weren’t there, you don’t know what was going on, or what people were capable of doing. I imagine she loved that dog very much. It’s bad enough she has to go through her loss, but then have people be so judgemental.

  4. Excuse me Layla – there was NO mention of the road crew “moved” Elly Mae’s body.

    “Eleven days after the crash, Suzie happened to run into the state trooper that worked the accident. What he told her made her think that Elly Mae’s body may still be there. That also made us wonder if Doogie may still be hanging around the accident site because his sister was still there. ”

    AND ”
    Suzie & her husband, Gary, who did a huge amount of the work for this over the next three weeks, headed to the accident site where they located Elly Mae’s body and lovingly buried her. They also erected a beautiful cross in her honor. But Doogie was nowhere to be found.”

    Nothing was mentioned about a steep hill – ????????

    And Anon – I wasn’t “getting on Linda’s back” I was just curious as to why Suzi found her with what sounded so easily. I don’t have a doubt that Linda was hurt, but she went there, wasn’t knocking her OR her love for her dog – just curious if she was looking for Elly Mae or only Duggie as the STORY INSINUATES.

    Excuse me. Maybe you should read the story again before you jump all over someone that was just curious and NOT being judgemental. I would imagine that others might have wondered the same thing. There’s always people that are going to say “I wouldn’t have left until I found her body” or even ” I wouldn’t have left Texas until I found my dog.” I didn’t say that. I was just asking.

    Happy for Duggie.

    1. According to the people who actually went there to retreive Elly Mae the area has a ditch of some sort. It was not easy for them to navigate much less an elderly woman that was injured.
      I didn’t include every detail in the story. If I had you would still be reading it. This was a very intense and concentrated case. One that would not have turned out this way if not for the people of Arkansas.They made all the difference in the world.

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