Home > Animal Rescue, Little Lady Lost, Pet Adoption, Pet News, Photos > Little Lady Lost and How She Made It Home Again

Little Lady Lost and How She Made It Home Again


Lost dog flier

I apologize up front for the length of this post, but What happened Wednesday night was nothing short of amazing. It was a miracle. And, I don’t ever want to forget it, especially knowing what happened on Monday.

Monday had been my first day back to work since Lady had disappeared. It was a strange feeling to be back. I had a hard time getting back into the groove, but by mid-afternoon I was focused and getting work done. That’s when it happened. I got this absolutely sick feeling in my stomach. I don’t know how to explain it except to say it was as if I had just received the very worst news and was doubled over with emotional pain. I almost started to cry and was feeling panicky. It was this awful feeling deep down in the pit of my stomach. I called Estelle from Minnesota Sheltie Rescue immediately and asked her if everything was okay because I felt something bad had happened. She reassured that all was well, but I couldn’t shake the feeling.

I decided to go for a walk to try and calm myself down. Suddenly, as I stood there, I felt this overwhelming sense of peace. It infused my whole being. And then, I heard the words “Everything is going to be okay.” At the time I didn’t know what it meant, but for the first time in many days, I felt totally at peace. In my mind’s eye, I saw an image of Lady. She was barking and wagging her tail excitedly like she does when she knows we are going on a walk, or to the dog park. She seemed so happy. I thought to myself, “She’s gone. Lady is gone.” I was so certain that the sick feeling I had felt was the moment she had died, and yet, the image of her wagging her tail and happily barking made me less sad that I thought I would be. I heard the words, “I’m free! I’m free!” and I thought “Okay. She’s gone, but she’s not sad about it. How can I be sad if she’s not?” It was a very strange experience. One I cannot explain. I returned to work that day totally at peace. Sad, but comforted by the fact that Lady had seemed so happy. (I later learned that I was not the only one who had experienced that sick feeling at the same time. Perhaps Lady had been in danger and escaped it? I guess I’ll never know.)

That’s why I was surprised (and very much relieved) when we had two sightings the very next morning as I was on my way to work. I was so excited. She was less than a mile from home! I don’t know how I knew it then, but somehow I knew it was just a matter of time before she would be home.

Lady resting at home with her toy

On Wednesday I went to work knowing the Lady was alive. I tried to stay focused on work until I received a call around 2:30 PM. I answered my phone immediately knowing it could be a call about Lady. The man on the phone said “I’ve seen your dog.” My heart skipped a beat. “Where?” I asked? He told me he had seen her on the corner of Eagandale Boulevard and Lone Oak Road. My heart dropped. I was sure he had to be mistaken. That was several miles from where she had last been seen on Tuesday. “Are you sure?” I asked him. He said “Yes. I am sure it was your dog. I just ran to Rainbow to look at the flier and now I’m on my way back to see if she is still there.” Then he said, “There she is. She’s running down West Service Road now. I’m following her.” Oh my God I thought. I told him I was going to call people to come meet him there. I was shaking. We were so close!

I remember calling Meaghan from Minnesota Sheltie Rescue (MNSR) and then Cindy, a volunteer who had been helping since Lady was first lost, and then Estelle, also from Minnesota Sheltie Rescue. I was in a panic. I wanted to be there. I tried to give each of them directions to the man’s location but for some reason I couldn’t get Google Maps to work. Augh! Seriously? Why now?

I remember calling the man back to be absolutely certain that the dog he saw was in fact Lady. He said she looks just like a Minature Collie and I knew. It was her. He told me that he had her cornered in a fenced lot and that he was going to get out of the car. I asked him please to sit down if he got out and let her approach him. I told him she was afraid of people. He said, “I’m sitting down.” “God bless him!” I thought.

To be honest, I don’t remember much after that except throwing things in my bag, rushing out of work and hopping the first train home. What I know now is that as I was heading home, people had already started calling one another and many had already started arriving at Lady’s location. Deb from Springer Rescue, Estelle from MNSR, Cindy, and Stephen, another volunteer who had become involved in the search for Lady. They were all there.

Glad to be back home

I remember Stephen calling me and saying “Mel – I can see her.” I don’t know how to describe what that moment was like. Finally! I tried to hold it together as I told him that I was almost there, but the tears had already started. After all the sightings, false sightings and almost sightings, finally she was somewhere we could finally catch her. The drive to the location was sheer agony. What if I were too late? What if she bolted and got hit by a car? And then I remembered the peace I had felt on Monday, and how I had heard the words that everything would be okay, and I stopped panicking and let it all go. I knew that what was about to happen as not in my hands. I was not in control anymore.

I arrived to find several cars parked in a business driveway. I saw Estelle off in the distance near a large fenced area in the back. She waved me towards her. I parked my car and walked to the back of the building. It appeared to be some sort of docking area in the back, like a place where trucks could be loaded up with goods and sent out for delivery. The lot was huge and completely empty, except for Lady, who was sniffing around and pacing. People were blocking the exits on either side of the lot. “It’s her!” I whispered to Estelle. We watched as Lady headed towards the exit at the opposite end of the lot only to stop as Cindy or Stephen or Brad (the man I had spoken to on the phone) stood up. She would stare for a second and then trot back over towards Estelle and I. She was desperately looking for an escape route. I called out to her and even called her by name a couple of times. Each time she stopped as if she recognized my voice, but then she would start trotting off again. She was so scared. All we could do was watch helplessly as Lady trotted back and forth in fear. We didn’t have enough people to block the exits so I could go in and get her.

As each of us took turns keeping her from escaping, Estelle and I took turns calling people – friends, family, volunteers. Everyone was called in hopes they could come. Meaghan put out an all hands on deck alert via email and soon people began to arrive in from everywhere It was truly amazing. I’ve never seen anything like it. Emily, from Ruff Start Rescue, drove her car up near Estelle and I and blocked the exit while more volunteers took positions to the front and side of it. Finally, I entered the lot.

Darn burrs. Thankfully fur grows back.

I crossed the lot and sat down on a curb near a concrete barrier and waited. Lady watched from the other end of the lot and then trotted over near Estelle. She stared for a long time at the exit, now blocked by a car and more people. I could just see the wheels in her head turning. She’s going to make a break for it I thought. She was so desperate to get away.

After a few moments, she turned and passed within a few feet of me. I kept my body turned to the side and my head down so as to appear less threatening to her. I watched out of the corner of my eye as she started to walk by and then stopped. Her nose lifted to the air and she sniffed. She looked at me as I called out her name softly and asked her if she wanted to go home and see Daisy and Jasper. She stared at me. I could see she knew who I was talking about. She moved a few steps forward and sniffed. Then a couple of more. And then, a few more. She was just within reach! I reached out my hand and let her sniff it. Slowly, the look of recognition came into her eyes and she sighed. It was if she was saying “It’s you. It’s you. Oh thank God it’s you.” I could see the look of relief in her eyes and watched as she circled me and walked up on the curb and came next to me. I reached out my hand and stoked her face as I said her name softly. She seemed to just relax after that. I said “Let’s get your harness on” and she stood and waited as I put it on her, and with nearly frozen fingers, attached her leash. She knew. She was going home. I let out a sob, but choked it back so as not to scare her. We started to walk, but I couldn’t stand the thought of her not being in my arms and picked her up and started to sob quietly as I carried her towards Estelle and the other women standing guard.

I remember hearing a cheer and clapping. What a long journey all of us had been on, none more so than Lady. Tears were flowing everywhere. The day I had waited for had finally come – 12 days after I lost Lady, she was finally home.

A lot of what happened after that was a blur. I remember putting Lady in my car and hugging my friends Karen and Kym and so many of the MNSR staff and volunteers I had come to know so well over the past 12 days. So many kind people who had helped bring Lady home. I also remember waiting for the man who had first spotted Lady and who had called me to tell me he had seen my dog. I gave him a huge hug and thanked him. His name is Brad Wright and in my book, he’s a hero. What a man! He had sat there for over 2 hours, waiting for people to get in place so I could go in and get Lady. He never complained. He never left. He didn’t just drive by. He stepped in and chose to help. God bless him.

Lady spent one night at the emergency vet for dehydration and was clipped to remove the many burrs that had matted her coat. She’s in bad shape visually, but in fairly good shape physically. She even seems to have adjusted to life back at home pretty quickly. She was playing with her brother Jasper tonight. Who’d have thunk it? Certainly not me.

My many, many thanks to each and every person who helped in the search for Lady. You worked tirelessly to make this happen. If not for you, she would not be home now, but facing another winter storm out in the cold somewhere all by herself. And to Brad Wright, thank you. You may not consider yourself a hero, but I do.

Lady and Brad

If you want to see more of Brad and Lady, click here. It’s the story WCCO did on her and her hero.


Welcome to the Saturday Pet Blogger Blog Hop. I encourage you to check out some of the other awesome pet bloggers out there. Much thanks to our most generous and interesting hosts, Life With Dogs, Two Little Cavaliers, and Confessions of the Plume!

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You can read more about the search for Lady and how she was found in the posts listed below.

Post #1: The search for Lady, my foster dog. How you can help.

Post #2:Foster Dog Lady – Still Missing

Post #3: Little Lady Lost – The Latest

Post #4: Thanksgiving Gratitude Despite Little Lady Still Being Lost

Post #5: Little Lady Lost – Chasing the Wrong Things

Post #6: A Sunbeam of Hope? The Latest on Little Lady Lost

Post #7: Little Lady Lost – The Saturday Update

Post #8: Little Lady Lost – Latest Update & Do’s and Don’ts

Post #9: Little Lady Lost – A sense of peace

Post #10: Little Lady Lost – HOME AT LAST!

Post #11 (This Post): Little Lady Lost and How She Made It Home Again

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  1. December 3, 2011 at 12:08 AM

    Saw you on the telly tonite…great story. Let me know when you have the story link. SO HAPPY THAT LADY IS HOME!!!

  2. Estelle
    December 3, 2011 at 12:09 AM

    I love the pic of her on her bed with her toy – she looks so relaxed and happy – she’s smiling. Thank you for choosing such a good spot when you decided you were ready to come home, Lady.

  3. December 3, 2011 at 12:59 AM

    Yay! What a happy ending and interesting story. re her return. My dog, after 12 days in wintery weather…sooo lucky to make it home!

  4. December 3, 2011 at 1:22 AM

    Oh wow, congrats on getting Lady back. I can’t imagine how you must have felt.

  5. December 3, 2011 at 6:14 AM

    Thank you for sharing everything with us. You have so many lessons here–about despair, hope, acceptance, friendship, tenacity, going the extra mile for a stranger….

    Lady’s story would make a wonderful movie.

    I’m so glad this tear jerker had such a happy ending.

  6. December 3, 2011 at 6:31 AM

    So glad Lady is home and safe.

    So many times the news is filled with sadness with no happy endings, this time there was one, so happy for you and Lady.

  7. Danielle
    December 3, 2011 at 6:35 AM

    Really happy for you. You put a lot of effort into into it and it paid off. She is a lovely dog and now you will feel even more bonded to her forever…what a rewarding relationship.

  8. cookingwithdogs
    December 3, 2011 at 6:51 AM

    Glad to hear Lady is back and big hugs to Brad Wright.

  9. Danielle
    December 3, 2011 at 7:10 AM

    Mel, how about a continuation of a “Pet Rescue” organization. Perhaps Sheltie Resucue could keep a database of names and e-mails and document what worked. Blogging, flyers, e-mails, twitter, cel-phones. I would gladly be a part of it. Anoyone want to organize?

    • Mel
      May 15, 2012 at 9:38 PM

      Danielle – I am so sorry I never responded to your suggestion back when you posted it. I wish I had. I was so overwhelmed by all the emails and comments that I missed quite a few, yours included. I think your idea is a wonderful one and it appears that there are now some wonderful groups on FB doing what you suggested. Lost Dogs-MN, Lost Dogs of Wisconsin, etc. Maybe you inspired others? I hope so. It was worthy of inspiration.

  10. December 3, 2011 at 7:26 AM

    Nose-running tears of joy/being moved here. If this wasn’t the weekend I’d tell you to put a “may make you cry” warning for those at work 😉

    • Mel
      December 4, 2011 at 7:42 AM

      Sorry Edie! I think I’m done with the “may make you want to cry” posts for a while. I’ve had enough of sad for a while.

  11. Cindy
    December 3, 2011 at 7:40 AM

    Brad was certainly a God send. So glad he had the heart to help. She looked so good on the wcco spot. Lady you led us on an adventure I’m sure none of us will soon forget. I know I never will. Lots of rest sweetie….get your strength up so you can get that kitty food ;-). Lots of rest to you Mel. I hope your roller coaster has finally stopped to let you off. May your days ahead with Lady, Daisy & Jasper be filled with only laughter & smiles.

    • Mel
      December 4, 2011 at 7:43 AM

      An adventure for sure Cindy! So many highs and lows.
      She’s still working on the kitty food. It’s only a matter of time!

  12. December 3, 2011 at 7:58 AM

    Oh Mel, we are so happy for you and Lady. I read the whole post out lound to Rod, through my tears. It’s a beautiful story and we are all better for having lived this with you.

    • Mel
      December 4, 2011 at 7:45 AM

      Amy and Rod – Thank you for all of your support and encouragement throughout this whole ordeal. I am so lucky to know you two. Thank you for sharing this journey with me and carrying me through when I didn’t think I could do it anymore.

  13. December 3, 2011 at 8:12 AM

    What a happy, happy ending to a long and frightful 12 days–for both you and Lady. I’m so glad she’s home safe now. You sure do have a hero in Brad!

  14. December 3, 2011 at 9:25 AM

    Such a happy story. All hail Brad for taking decisive action and hanging in there.

    • Mel
      December 4, 2011 at 7:41 AM

      Thanks Roxanne. Brad did everything right. If he hadn’t I wouldn’t have my girl. He’s a hero.

  15. darlene
    December 3, 2011 at 9:29 AM

    SO happy to hear it Sheltie rescue you are amazing and Brad thank you!!! Are you keeping Lady forever?

    • Mel
      December 4, 2011 at 7:42 AM

      Sheltie Rescue, Brad and all who helped in some way… all are awesome!!!

  16. Connie Knutson
    December 3, 2011 at 9:32 AM

    So happy for you – I know we would have been sick like you had one of ours been missing. We followed your story every day and shared all the posts from Estelle along with saying a few prayers. So glad to hear you decided to adopt Lady! Sounds to me like you belong together. Merry Christmas!

  17. December 3, 2011 at 10:06 AM

    I’m crying over here… so very happy that this story had a happy ending and that Lady is home with you now. 🙂

    • Mel
      December 4, 2011 at 7:41 AM

      AJ – I was crying just thinking about it (even before writing it). It was a very powerful experience from beginning to end.

  18. December 3, 2011 at 10:57 AM

    I’m so thankful this story had a happy ending and Lady is back where she belongs!

    • Mel
      December 4, 2011 at 7:40 AM

      Me too. So very thankful. Lady is home. Forever.

  19. Carolyn
    December 3, 2011 at 12:43 PM

    Been following the story all the way from Virginia! So glad she is home safe and sound! God bless!

    • Mel
      December 4, 2011 at 7:39 AM

      Virginia! Wow! I am so very glad too.! Thank you for following.

      • Harold Delk
        December 4, 2011 at 9:38 AM

        Maddie (a vizsla rescue) and VizslaDad have been following this from Roanoke, VA thanks to Amy and Rod. We are so happy to hear Lady is home and safe.

  20. December 3, 2011 at 1:46 PM

    Isn’t the power of love an amazing thing? As you’ve told over and over of your experiences with being in tune with your dogs…it was only a matter of time before she was right there in your arms.

    Everything happens for a reason. Everything.

    Hold on to that. And to Lady. 🙂

    • Mel
      December 4, 2011 at 7:39 AM

      It most certainly is! You were right. It was only a matter of time. I now believe firmly that this was meant to happen the way it did and in the time that it took for a reason. I am so lucky to have my girl back.

  21. December 3, 2011 at 4:44 PM

    Mel, your story brought tears to my eyes. I’m so thrilled that Lady is back home with you. I guess Lady decided it was time for her adventure to end and come home to the family who loves her. I’m so happy things turned out so positive all around!

    • Mel
      December 4, 2011 at 7:38 AM

      I am thrilled too Robin. More than you could ever imagine. I think Lady was looking for me all along and just hadn’t found me.

  22. Dena
    December 3, 2011 at 7:17 PM

    I’m still driving around with the flyers on my car windows but I stuck little signs on them that say “FOUND – Thank You!” and I sent an e-mail out to my staff because I teach in Eagan and most of them had probably seen the story in one way or another. When I went to put a “FOUND” sign on the flyer at the library I noticed that over half of the little phone number papers had been ripped off meaning that people were on the look-out. And fortunately, Brad was one of those kinds of people who sincerely cared and took his time to help. I truly believe everything happens for a reason and so many people have been affected by your and Lady’s story… the tears still come easily but these tears feel great! Let the river flow! When we were watching Lady approach you and then when you stood up with her in your arms we all high-fived like you had just scored the winning touchdown and when I read in your blog tonight how you couldn’t resist picking her up and just carrying her to safety… well, what an amazing person you are!

    • Mel
      December 4, 2011 at 7:37 AM

      LOL! Good for you Dena! I took mine down, but I tell everyone I see. I’m planning to write a letter to the city and the local paper to thank everyone for all of their help.
      I believe everything happens for a reason too.

      That moment, when Lady approached me, was one of the most powerful moments of my life. When she finally realized it was me she just seemed to relax and let go as if she had finally found what she had been searching for and now could end her search. That moment will stay with me a long, long time.

  23. December 3, 2011 at 8:44 PM

    Dan and I are so happy that Lady has been found, We have tears of joy for your happy ending.

    • Mel
      December 4, 2011 at 7:32 AM

      Oh Robin> I am too! Happy tears have been with me for days. Yesterday, I was driving in many of the places that we had searched for Lady and I couldn’t help but tear up thinking about how lucky I am that I don’t have to look anymore.

  24. December 3, 2011 at 9:01 PM

    Losing and recovering my Molly had a profound effect on my life (in a good way), and through this amazing story – with it’s oh-so-many eerie similarities – I’m right back there with her, even more convinced that something greater than me brought her home. My mind is boggled by the amount of careful orchestration that took place throughout your ordeal with Lady, especially in those tense hours before she finally relaxed at your side.

    I have no doubt that pieces of Lady’s tale will be tucked away and carried for a long time within the hearts of more people than you can imagine. 🙂

    Thank you for sharing this day with us. Now go squeeze that patchy coated fur ball for me!

    • Mel
      December 4, 2011 at 7:27 AM

      I have no doubt it did Elizabeth. I have to agree that something greater brought Molly and Lady home. The pieces fit together perfectly at just the right time. That a man who does not own dogs could know exactly what to do to help bring Lady home when so many others (mostly dog owners themselves) couldn’t is just one piece of this puzzle that made this experience so amazing. That so many people suddenly showed up at the right time and helped to bring her home. That someone posted a flier at Rainbow Foods and he saw it and remembered.
      I’ll be pondering this whole experience for some time. I hope that it gives people faith in others. I firmly believe there was something greater here at work than I could possibly ever know.

      Thanks for making me laugh with your comment! Patchy-coated ball of fur hugged!

  25. December 4, 2011 at 8:44 AM

    I’m so so happy to read your happy ending! Now after all that, how are you going to let her go to a new home when her forever family comes along? 🙂

  26. December 4, 2011 at 12:13 PM

    I am so glad I am reading this on my couch at home as I am crying all over the place! It is absolutely amazing how one pretty little dog can bring so many strangers together. I am so happy she is home with you, where she belongs. I knew everything would work out and I am so glad it did sooner rather than later!

  27. December 4, 2011 at 6:44 PM

    I just saw your story on the news and heard the GOOD news that you’re going to keep this little wanderer. I hope that’s true! I’m so happy for you, Mel. We need more stories like this. 🙂 Congratulations.

  28. December 4, 2011 at 8:24 PM

    That IS a miracle and yes, Brad IS a hero!

    It takes a Village. God Bless everyone who helped bring Lady home:)

  29. Elaine Henninger
    December 4, 2011 at 10:12 PM

    So glad she is home. Thanks for taking such good care of your foster dogs. The world needs more people like you.

    • Mel
      December 8, 2011 at 3:48 PM

      Thanks Elaine. I think of Lady as one of my own, so it killed me to think she was out there all by herself so scared and alone. I feel lucky that we found her.

  30. December 5, 2011 at 12:32 AM

    How’s that for a great story! Thanks for sharing and I’m so happy that Lady is back where she belongs!

  31. December 5, 2011 at 7:43 AM

    OMG! What a story. Can’t imagine how you have felt. I think I’ll go finish my ball fest now. (sniff!sniff!)

  32. Betty Ibbetson
    December 5, 2011 at 2:53 PM

    Thank you for sharing your story with us. Brad is a hero. I am glad that lady is well and home with you. God bless.

  33. Cass
    December 5, 2011 at 7:45 PM

    Was this the lost sheltie in the eagan inver grove heights area that had the really nice white signs all along the roads? Every time i drove by the signs i wondered if that poor family found their dog.

    • Mel
      December 8, 2011 at 3:46 PM

      It was! She has been found. Thank you for asking Cass.
      Unfortunately, we also discovered that there are 2 other stray shelties out there on their own. Most likely people would not have called us if not for Lady going missing. We hope to be able to help them too.

  34. Jen
    December 8, 2011 at 6:14 AM

    I am so happy for you and Lady!!

  35. December 8, 2011 at 9:39 AM

    Lovely story! I’m with Jen ^ Very happy for you, and glad that all is well with you and lady!

  36. Joe
    December 18, 2011 at 9:06 AM

    So happy your story ended well. A blessing you have had for sure. I can relate to your story totally. I had to live trap my male sheltie in the middle of northern Wisconsin woods and after 16 days, got him back. Saw your flier at Thomson Reuters Caribou coffee and took a phone number strip. Living 35 miles away I knew I would have little impact but hey, I may have seen her on the way home. The one/two owner sheltie personality is very very familiar to me. They don’t see their owners, they bolt.

    • Mel
      December 18, 2011 at 9:31 PM

      Thank you so much Joe. I tried the live traps with no success where Lady was concerned. I am so glad your little guy was caught. I cannot imagine Lady being missing 16 days versus the 12. Wow. I am so very glad you got him back. I imagine the worries are compounded when you are facing the loss of a dog in the Wisconsin Woods – it adds a whole new list of predators to worry about.

      It’s funny, but I have never had a Sheltie bolt on me until Lady and I was always so careful to make sure it never happened. Then, life happened. You just never know. Thank you for keeping an eye out for her. You are one of those nice people I have met since Lady disappeared. Thank you!

  37. Lost Cats MN
    May 16, 2012 at 4:09 AM

    Beautiful story of love, patience and determination! So very happy for you and everyone that helped search for Lady! ❤

    • Mel
      May 16, 2012 at 6:48 AM

      Thank you. Lady and I were very lucky to have such wonderful support and help.

  1. December 4, 2011 at 9:01 AM
  2. January 2, 2012 at 4:02 PM
  3. June 17, 2013 at 10:26 PM
  4. October 21, 2014 at 11:03 PM
  5. July 27, 2016 at 11:03 PM

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