Roads become packed with travelers during the holidays. Sadly, this opens the doors for more traffic accidents. Even our worst days have a silver lining even if we don’t see it right away. One man in North Carolina thought he lost it all when his vacation was interrupted by a car accident that ended with both of his dogs missing. With a little patience, a lot of help from the community, and a bit of luck, Brian Shelton’s worst day had a silver lining.
Shelton was well into his journey from North Carolina to New York to visit his parents when the accident happened. He was traveling along an Interstate 270 overpass in Montgomery County, Maryland when his truck was struck. Unbeknownst to bystanders, Shelton’s travel companions included his two dogs. Caleb and Ena were Shelton’s co-pilots that day and they were naturally shaken up from the accident.
A good-hearted bystander came over and opened Shelton’s passenger door to make sure he was okay. It was at that moment that the chocolate Lab and Pitbull escaped. The pair took off and a frantic search ensued. Luckily, Shelton only had minor injuries. The cuts and bruises he endured were nothing compared to the heartache of losing his two 5-year-old furbabies.
As a career firefighter, Shelton knew that persistence and a little dash of hope is the best recipe for success in these kinds of situations. He couldn’t do it on his own so he took to social media to ask for help. A group called the Lost Animal Resource Group caught wind of Shelton’s story and made it their mission to help. Volunteers came together to post flyers, perform searches, and document any sightings of Ena and Caleb.
Volunteers got crafty with their methods to lure Ena and Caleb back to safety. They implemented cameras and rigged traps with food. After all, who can resist a tasty snack? Local trail riders took to horseback to report any sightings of the runaway duo. Shelton even put out a worn t-shirt in hopes his scent would attract the two. When everything including KFC fried chicken failed, they put eyes in the sky with the help of a drone!
Miraculously, Ena came within 50 feet of her dad. Because of her survival mode, she was too timid to come near him when he called her name. Shelton thought fast and made noises similar to whimpers which helped Ena snap out of her instinctive survival mode.
It didn’t take long for Caleb to be spotted after that! Caleb’s head was seen popping out of the brush when he apparently heard Ena’s whining.
Perhaps nobody was more excited than Shelton’s 14-year-old son, Kyle. He had been helping his dad track Ena and Caleb but he had to return to school. When his dad called to tell him the good news, Kyle was consumed with happiness and tears fell from his eyes!
Both dogs were in relatively great shape despite their time on the run. Ena just had a small injury to her paw and they both had ticks. Nothing a little TLC and a quick trip to the vet couldn’t fix!
Caleb and Ena aren’t the first pups that LARG has helped bring home. The group was formed about a year ago and they’ve already helped find 30 missing dogs! The work they do for the two and four-legged members of their community is truly remarkable.