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Boonie-dogDecember 30, 2006

Two days after Christmas, my sister Bethany left my parents’ house in order to drive home to the Bay Area. The folks live about 4 hours south, on the Central Coast. She drove a bit north, and pulled over in San Luis Obispo for a tire rotation and a lunch.

We’d been having wicked winds, and while she was waiting for a sandwich to be made, the wind blew over a heavy metal table. Bethany’s dog, Boonie, was spooked, slipped her collar, and ran.

Now, what you have to know is that Boonie BELONGS to and with Bethany. Boonie’s a Thai fighting dog, a rescue straight from Thailand. She's named after the jungle dogs that lived on Saipan when we lived overseas -- the fast packs of dogs that act as intelligent units.

Boonie's almost feral, not threatening, but certainly not tame. She’s the kind of dogs who can, and has, lived on street scraps. She runs faster than any dog I’ve ever laid eyes on, and she won’t be touched by anyone except Bethany and Bethany’s roommate. I’m allowed to give her treats (to Boonie, not to Bethany's roommate), and every once in a while I graze her head with my hand, but that’s only allowed because I see her all the time (Clara is a favorite chase-buddy of hers).

But Bethany – Bethany is HER person. When nervous or feeling threatened, which is often, she climbs Bethany like a tree.

When Boonie slipped her collar, she left her tags behind, obviously. She’s microchipped, but apparently the Thai chips don’t talk to our machines here. This is a dog that would take months and months for animal control to snare, if they were ever able to. This dog would run, completely unapproachable.

Bethany was beside herself. She had to leave – had been heading out of town when it happened – to get back to work on the railroad. She managed to wrestle some time from her job to stay and search, and my other sister Christy and my parents threw themselves into the search, driving the neighborhoods and calling.

They papered the neighborhood with fliers, sparing no pole.

But Bethany finally had to drive herself back up north for a job run, inconsolable. When I called her, her voice broke my heart.

Then someone called her cell and reported seeing a dog matching Boonie’s description running fast in the area. Bethany borrowed my folks’ car to head home for work, and left her truck in the area (even though it wasn’t in exactly the same area as where she’d originally been lost) gate open, bed and food in the back. She didn’t hold much hope.

But Dad, yesterday morning, went to the truck and staked it out.

He saw Boonie jump into the bed of the truck!

He approached the truck, and of course, Boonie took off hell for leather in any direction that didn’t have a person in or near it. Dad called Bethany at 11am, and she was in the area by 3pm.

She went up to the truck, looked inside. No Boonie.

She called Boonie’s name.

A small head popped up from the cab.

Boonie had scrambled through the window into the cab of the truck and had been resting on the passenger seat, just waiting for Bethany to come find her.

Isn’t that the best story? Almost three days later, reunited. And Boonie had found the truck, on her own, not even at the sandwich shop where she’d been lost. And she just waited there, for Beth to come. Which she did.

I’m so damn happy for them.


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That's an amazing story - thanks, Rachael!

Wow. What a great Christmas gift!

Yay for happy endings!

I heard a story somewhere - maybe on This American Life, that was similar to this. Except I think the people had tried to abandon the dog (or maybe give it to another family?), and one day spotted the dog running alonside the car as it was driving down the highway. Completely out of nowhere. Completely amazing. It found them, and refused to not belong to them.

Awwwwwwww, that's such a nice story! What a wonderful way to end the year. The quiet intelligence of dogs amazes me when I hear stories like this.

I was worried when I started reading your post that it would be a sad ending - or a plea for help. I'm so happy Bethany got her Boonie-dog back!

Aww...omg. What a brilliant dog.

Yippeee!! That is so great. Damn! I want a dog. :-)

Best. Story.

I am SO glad that story had a happy ending! Dogs are truly amazing, and your sister brilliant for leaving the truck as a beacon for Boonie!

Love a happy ending.

you have the *best* stories. so happy for bethany & boonie!

How wonderful! I love your family.

What a fabulous story! My dog got away from me once for about 10 minutes and it was the scariest 10 minutes of my life! What a smart pup!

I was so worried this was not going to have an ending or an unhappy ending -- what a smart dog Boonie is :D

Oh my goodness. What a beautiful stor, Rachael. Thanks for sharing.

*So* happy for Bethany and Boonie.

Who's a good dog? Boonie is. Yay for Boonie!

Wow! Do you think there's any way you can somehow publish this story? Too good to drop! Wonderful!

Oof. You got me all weepy, even though it ended well. And what a great idea to leave the truck there, so Boonie could find it and wait there.

That's an awesome story.

Buy that girl a drink! Good dog Boonie! Pix of Boonie please...

Yay! I had to skim ahead and read the ending before I read all the details. Can not imagine losing a canine soulmate like that. I'm lost if someone isn't snoring/shedding/playing/farting/chewing within 15ft of me.

BTW, I had a dream the other night that you and Lala walked into a store where I used to work (we sold western wear) and I squeeled and said "it's YOU, and YOU!""Here are the shirts, try them on while I draw you a map of where to get the best latte and where the good yarn store is!" :) Good customer service, even in my dreams! So, next time you are touring through North Eastern Ohio, let me know, and I'll draw you a map!

I'm so relieved! I was lining up all the possible resources for search parties (the greyhound network loves to go out looking) and for humane traps and feeding stations in the area.

Feb's Cook's Illustrated in the Letter from the Editor mentions that if you and your hunting dog get separated, you are supposed to leave your coat on the side of the road. Your dog will find the coat and sit on it until you get back. Sounds like the same principle, but a much heftier coat. ;)

You were the last blog read of the morning - what a great way to start my day...love it.

Oh my god, I'm so happy to hear that story had a happy ending. Yay for Bethany and Boonie.

What a great story! I'm so happy for Bethany and Boonie!

I sent your post along to several friends who are involved with dogs/dog rescue, and after having just recently rescued a dog from the desert I am amazed that people don't go to amazing lengths to find their lost critters. My dog Bo was stolen right in front of me over 30 years ago and I still haven't gotten over it.

I am so glad that Bethany and Boonie were reunited.

I love a great dog story. Years ago, one of my dogs dissappeared, and we looked everywhere and put up flyers and waited. after 2 weeks, I had to give up because my heart just broke more every day. On the 15th day, I went home, and there was Nippy, sitting in the driveway. Happest damn day of my life, practically.

Yea for Boonie and Bethany.

I think I'm going to cry now, thanks to both a GREAT story and your excellent storytelling skills. (You had me at "she climbs Bethany like a tree"!) Thanks for this.

What a smart dog. I'm crying.

What a smart dog, I'm crying.

Yay for Boonie and Bethany! So so glad they were reunited.

That's really, really wonderful.

tears here. beautiful. blessings to the b's.

I am so glad the story had a happy ending. While I am not an animal person, I do understand the connection people have with animals.

I am so happy for Bethany and Boonie! That story made me cry, I'm such a softie for dogs.

That...is a GREAT story! What a relief!

So glad to hear the story had a happy ending!

I was on my way to becoming very sad- thank goodness for the happy ending! The thought of a lost dog depresses me. Happy New Year :-)

That is an amazing story! I'm so glad it had a happy ending.

That is the best story I have heard in ages!! So happy for all!!

Sniff, so happy for Bethany and Boonie!

Way cool. I'll follow the link... but would love a photo of Boonie Dog and Truck Cab. Smart canine!

Wow. I'm so impressed with your sister that she left her car. That is amazing.

Hafa adai! What a great story, so happy for B & B! Those boonie dogs are smart. I stayed with friends in Saipan for a month once, many years ago now. What a great visit. Stopped in Hawaii on the way back home and it seemed like a seething metropolis.

Best. Story. Ever! You had me on needles here!

What a smart dog! Most importantly, what a devoted family Boonie has - very lucky dog.

Wonderful story! It proves once again the amazing bond between some pets and their people.

What a great story :) I'm glad all ended well. Pics of Boonie??

sniff sniff..... dabbing the tears away....

Dangit, who said you could make me cry today?!

I'm so glad Boonie and Bethany are reunited . . . as I was reading and before I got to the good news, I was terrified that the story had a bad ending . . .


I almost stopped reading early in the story because I couldn't bear to read an unhappy ending. Now I'm just wiping away tears of joy. This is the BEST story I've heard in a while. Yay Boonie!

I remember Boonie dogs from high school on Guam. Those big ears they all had, and yeah, they were damn fast. So glad the story has a happy ending!

Just catching up on your blog today after being away. Understand that I NEVER EVER read animal stories; go to animal movies; I am inconsolable at Dumbo/Old Yeller/Where the Red Fern Grows advertisements..are we clear....I got totally sucked into this story....I prayed every word that there was a happy ending......still teary..... please get Boonie a harness from me and dont do that again! many thanks to the Universe for compainions united!

That story made me cry.

I am so happy for Bethany and Boonie!

wow - that is an incredible story!! i'm soooo happy it ended the way it did...i was worried for a minute there!

Rachael, your story kept me going today. My dogs disappeared last night. At 11:00pm the gate was open and the dogs were gone without a trace. My old, too old to be running around, Springer mix and our one-year-old-on-Friday lab aussie mix. That girl has always been a runner, the old boy will sit in the open gate and wait all day for someone to come home and close it for him. My husband went walking too look for them, then went driving, then I went driving and calling their names until 2:00am. Up before dawn this morning, I was thinking of your wonderful Boonie story, I kept thinking: three days, three days, they found her after three days. I stayed home from work. I remembered someone called after seeing the posters, so I made posters, I waited for a call, I looked out the window, I called shelters, I thought about Boonie. I drove around more, I gave posters to every postman I saw, stopped at the vet, went to the city shelter, the county shelter and I cried. I checked every lump, branch, and garbage bag along the road, relieved that none of the lumps was a dog. I kept thinking of your story with a happy ending, three days. I called the answering machine, there was a message, “I have two dogs in my front yard with your phone number…” Bobbie, as sweet a lady as could be, had seen them in her front yard and decided they ought to be tied up and she called me. I can’t believe the old dog made it that far, six miles, he pants after walking two blocks. He couldn’t even get into the car, I had to lift him in, they both fell asleep on the way home and then I had to lift the old boy out of the car. I am relieved that they stayed together and that they wandered into the yard of a sweet pet loving person. Thank you for the inspiration, I needed it today.

THAT just made me cry tears of joy! Whatta story!!!

I'm not even an animal person, and that story touched me!

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