Lifestyle & Human Interest

After Losing Beloved Dog, Woman Quits Job so She Can Hunt High and Low To Find Her


If you’re like most dog owners, you worry like crazy if your pet gets lost. Whether it bolted out through the front door, escaped from the yard, ran off at the park or was potentially stolen, most concerned pet owners get to work right away trying to locate their beloved pooch.

“Lost Dog” signs. Posts on Facebook and Nextdoor. Putting out dirty laundry that smells like you to guide your dog home. Walking around and calling their name.

While there is a lot that can be done to try to reunite pets and owners, many people can’t dedicate as much time as they would like to searching for their dog. One woman from Deer Park, Washington, decided to solve that problem by simply quitting her job.

What should have been a relaxing four-day retreat to Flathead County, Montana, for the Kings in July, quickly turned to disaster on their very first day. Carole and her husband Vern King went out to dinner, leaving their dog Katie in the hotel room.

When they got back, she was gone.

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“I said to the clerk, ‘please tell me you have my dog,’” Carole told the Daily Inter Lake. “The clerk says no, she left about 4, 4 and a half hours ago.”

During their absence, there was a thunderstorm. Katie had somehow managed to find her way out of the room, and then out of the hotel’s automatic doors.

Katie is a border collie, one of the smartest, fastest and most obsessive breeds of dog. Carole, no stranger to the breed and its particular charms, told Daily Inter Lake that Katie was especially “high maintenance” and, while friendly, was also very skittish.

A lost dog post from Aug. 5 describes the dog as a “42 pound,7 year old, microchipped, black and white female border collie. White tipped tail and front legs are white up to her chest with black spots.”

“My Katie girl is lost but has been seen by multiple people,” Carole wrote in the same post. “I miss her more than words can say and I need her here with me, in my arms and want her home PLEASE Katie girl, go to someone for help. I am still looking. I need you Katie. Please help me get her home.”

Fortunately, Katie was wearing a collar and was microchipped — two of the best ways to ensure that a lost dog, once caught, can be reunited with its owners. But it was that “once caught” part that proved to be tricky with Katie: no one could catch her.

Days stretched into weeks, and then a month. Carole quit her job, put up hundreds of flyers, set up game cameras to try to track her dog’s movements, and responded to reported sightings. Both she and her husband used night-vision goggles and would search at night, too, according to ABC News.

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“I never gave up,” she said. “I never lost hope.”

Finally, after following up on a sighting on Sept. 15, Carole spotted a dirty, skinny Katie. Carole almost passed by — but a couple walking by spotted the dog and alerted Carole.

After reveling in finding her missing dog 57 days after last seeing her, Carole rushed Katie to the vet, where she was given strict orders about how to feed and water Katie so as not to make her ill after all she’d been through. Everyone seemed to know who Katie was, thanks to a dedicated network of dog-loving good samaritans, and even the vet had to ask “Is this the famous Katie?”

The message was quickly relayed to the team, and the Facebook page that had been called “Katie Come Home!” was changed to “Katie IS Home!”

“There are so many people that helped Carole King, Vern and Katie Reunite,” Denise Rutherford, who updated the group regularly, posted. “As so many of us know, searching for your missing and lost pup is beyond emotional. It’s okay to cry, it’s okay to be emotional, it’s okay to scream as long as you keep searching and never give up. Carole DID.

“It is an honor to know Carole and the group of devoted searchers and community that took a part in getting Katie home.”

“Hey everyone, it has been an amazing journey with each and everyone of you in my search for Katie girl,” Carole wrote in a Sept. 16 Facebook post. “The support from total strangers in helping find katie was unbelieveable. Your encouraging texts and calls kept me hopeful when I hit an emotional wall.”

“I want to thank everyone whether I met you, you shared information or posted or placed flyers,” she continued. “Everyone played a part in Katie’s return, thank you all for your kindness and time. Carole, Verne and Katie.”

While the story took off like wildfire, bringing joy to dog lovers everywhere, Carole wants to recognize the strength of a dedicated community and to remind people not to lose hope when a pet goes missing.

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