A lot of things had to go right for the story of Gracie the dog to have a happy ending.
Thankfully, they did.
Gracie, a 6-year-old boxer, ran from the scene of a traffic accident on M-28 near Deerton Sunday afternoon involving the vehicle of Scott Wilson, her owner. In the crash during a whiteout, both Wilson and the driver of the other vehicle received non-life-threatening injuries, but in the confusion during the aftermath, Gracie ran into the woods.
Wilson tried to give chase, but Gracie was gone.
"I thought I'd never see her again," he said.
Instead, as Upper Peninsula residents so often do, people got involved. Wilson, who lives in downstate Shepherd, might have been a stranger, but animal lovers rallied to help when they heard the story through Facebook postings, mainly on the page Lost & Found Paws of the U.P.
In almost no time at all, searchers were combing the woods along M-28 to try to find the lost, frightened pooch who was dragging a six-foot leash. Some even took to snowshoes in an effort to locate the dog.
Tracks were spotted and some caught glimpses of the dog, who was afraid to answer their calls.
Communicating with Wilson's wife, Cathy, downstate, the volunteers were able to help bring Scott back to the scene in hopes Gracie would hear her owner calling her name.
In below-zero weather, these kind Yoopers worked to bring dog and master back together.
Finally, Monday night, some 30 hours after she went missing, Gracie walked up onto Kirsten Englund's porch, right near the crash scene. Englund gently coaxed the dog into the home, then alerted the owners the dog was safe.
Examined at Bayshore Animal Hospital in Marquette, Gracie was in good condition, with some scrapes here and there, but no signs of frostbite despite the brutally cold weather.
Thanks to a group of dedicated Yooper animal lovers, the Wilson family has its beloved dog back. Soon, she'll be back home, enjoying hanging out with her best canine friend, Mr. B.
We salute all who were part of the search for Gracie, including a network of people around the country who, through the Facebook page, were able to root for the happy ending that resulted.
Social media often gets a bad rap, but in this case, it was a useful tool in creating a joyful conclusion to a story that might otherwise have been tragic.