What is home to a dog that has been abandoned and left to survive on his own? For one dog, now named “Spirit”, home was not a place but a journey between two small towns in Upper Michigan. Hancock and Dollar Bay consisted of rural roads, small neighborhoods, highways and dense wooded areas. In reality, Spirit had no real home. He had no owner making sure he was safe each night in a warm house. He had no regular meals being given to him each day and he had no one out looking for his safety and well being. He was alone.
Early last spring, sightings of a large white husky started to circulate among residents who lived in this 10 mile range. Most people chalked the sightings up to a companion pet who is allowed to visit surrounding areas or got loose but obviously someone would be looking for him soon. Days turned into weeks and weeks turned into months as “Spirit” made his way back and forth though the woods and neighborhoods of the copper country. As time went on, people started to notice this traveling dog’s fur was getting matted, his white color turning more a dirty grey, and the realization set in that this dog had no home and no one was caring for him.
The Copper Country Humane Society, a “no time limits” animal shelter serving Keweenaw, Houghton and Baraga counties in Michigan, was notified of the abandoned dog, setting the wheels in motion to rescue him. Social media lit up with posts sharing where Spirit was “just seen,” almost daily. Animal lovers everywhere tried everything to catch or coerce this dog into their yard or vehicle. Dog owners would take their own pets out for a walk, hoping this white wonder would possibly follow them all the way home. No amount of chasing, bribing with food, following at a distance or trying to trap this fearful pooch worked.
CCHS soon realized that tracking this dog was the easy part but catching him was going to prove to be much more difficult. Between the CCHS Facebook page and a local Lost and Found Pet Facebook page, where local residents posted sightings of Spirit, CCHS volunteer/interim manager, Becki Clouthier was able to map out his travels. And travel he did- Spirit’s journey spanned over 8 miles! Becki did notice there was one area he seemed to return to often. A local resident in that area shared he had been feeding Spirit on a pretty regular basis and his neighbor had a husky who Spirit liked to visit. So a quieter and more focused rescue effort began. The neighbor kept feeding and socializing with Spirit every chance he got and Becki was on call for CCHS. Everyone just stepped back in hopes that this gentle giant of a dog would allow people to help him.
On October 23rd, at 2:30 pm, Becki got the call she had been waiting for. “I got him” said the voice on the other end of the phone. Within minutes, Becki was standing in front of the most gorgeous ragamuffin of a dog with big brown eyes and a gentle demeanor. Slowly and calmly they placed him in a car and drove him to CCHS. When he arrived, he enjoyed a good meal, fresh water, soft blankets to lie on and within about 30 minutes, he was sleeping in his kennel….peacefully.
Sweet Spirit was in surprisingly good health upon vet examination. He needed some parasite treatment, bathing and grooming, but overall he was healthy and happy. The true “spirit” of this dog was that of survival. He never gave up on life and rescuers never gave up on him. Sometimes rescuing doesn’t just save a life, but it teaches us all how to give a little more, love a little deeper and never give up. He
Even though we will never know why Spirit was abandoned, CCHS will always be there to start a new chapter for the lives of rescued animals and give them a safe and happy ending. The happy ending to this story is captured in a photo – Spirit with his new mom – Claire! Yes…he has been adopted!
By: LeRita Allert
The Copper Country Humane Society is a non-profit, 501(c)3 organization dedicated to helping animals. We have all heard the old saying: “it takes a village to raise a child.” Well it also takes a village to save animals. Unwavering dedication to saving animals and continued community support is what keeps the Copper Country Humane Society going. Animals come from three counties in Michigan and are provided with a warm place to sleep, food in their bellies, and a safe haven for as long as care is needed. 100-percent of the money needed for vet care, spay/neuter, and medical needs for the 900 animals CCHS cares for annually is raised through monthly fundraising events and private donations. CCHS exists because everyone comes together to make a difference for so many animals!
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 453 – Houghton, MI 49931
email: [email protected]