Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Blind dog's unlikely return 'a miracle'

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FAIRBANKS, Alaska -- Blind and alone in Alaska winter temperatures that dipped -40 degrees C, a lost 8-year-old Fairbanks dog wasn't given much of a chance to make it home.

But after walking 16 kilometres to the edge of a local musher's dog yard, Abby the brown-and-white mixed breed was found and returned to her owners, a family that includes two boys and one girl under the age of 10.

The dog that the family raised from an animal-shelter puppy went missing during a snowstorm on Dec. 13, and the family never expected to see her again, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported.

"It's a miracle, there's no other words to describe it," said McKenzie Grapengeter, emotion choking her voice and tears coming to her eyes. "We never expected to have her to be returned safe and alive."

Musher and veterinarian Mark May said he came across the dog while running his team on Dec. 19, but didn't stop to pick her up.

The next day, the dog turned up at May's house.

To May's surprise, the dog had no signs of frostbite.

"No frozen ears, no frozen toes, she'll probably go back home and it'll (be) business as usual. She's no worse for wear but quite an adventure," he said.

"We're so, so grateful for all (the community's) hard work," McKenzie Grapengeter said. "They've given us the most amazing Christmas gift we could ever ask for."

-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 26, 2012 A20

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