There’s almost no agony worse for pet parents than when a beloved fur baby goes missing. While this tale might have had a more tragic ending, fate was certainly looking out for a pooch that went missing in Ireland’s Wicklow Mountains this past January.
Neesha, an 8-year-old Golden Retriever, is one lucky dog. After spending a fortnight on her own without food or real shelter, the plucky pooch was serendipitously spotted by a couple, who in spite of the wintry weather, was hiking the range and happened upon her.
Two weeks earlier, Neesha’s owners had taken her and their other dog, a German Shepherd named Harley, for some outdoor exercise. Startled by a deer, both dogs took off. Harley found his way back to the parking lot the next day, but Neesha did not.
The family made a thorough search. They left a laundry basket of unwashed clothing near the spot they’d last seen Neesha on the chance she’d home in on the familiar scent marker.
They even resorted to drones and took to the Internet to ask for help in finding Neesha—but there was still no sign of her.
“We went on social media and posted it out. Then a weekend later, we were still looking for her, we were starting to give up hope,” pet mom Erina O’Shea Goetelen told The Irish Times.
Eventually, the family began to accept that Neesha might not be coming home. “We just thought she was 8, it’s been two weeks, there was no way she could survive that.”
Doctors Ciara Nolan and Jean Francois Bonnet must truly be dedicated hikers to have braved the elements on the frigid day the pair decided to summit one of Wicklow’s peaks. As they neared the top, Nolan was shocked to see a dog shivering in the snow curled up next to some rocks.
“She was petrified, freezing cold. She didn’t have enough energy to bark or stand,” Bonnet said in an interview with Eastcoast FM. “We tried to get her to walk, she couldn’t stand. So we covered her in our spare clothes, we gave her some food.”
Nolan lifted Neesha onto back Bonnet’s back for the 10-km (6.2-mile) trek back down the mountain. After dog and man fell several times in the icy conditions, Nolan engineered a way to strap Neesha to her partner’s backpack with her scarf.
“When Ciara rang us Saturday evening I got very excited when I realized they had found Neesha,” the Ash Animal Rescue’s admin posted to Facebook. “When I saw the video clip I couldn’t help getting emotional. The weather had thrown all sorts at us in the past 2 weeks, for Neesha to have survived it all is a miracle.”
Neesha’s owners could scarcely believe it when they learned her dog had been found alive.
“We were so, so relieved and happy,” O’Shea Goetelen told Irish Central. “We have no words to thank them both for what they did to bring her back home. They are just absolutely amazing and unbelievable. We just can’t thank them enough.”
They say all dogs go to heaven, but due to a twist of fate and two determined rescuers, that’s a trip Neesha won’t be making for quite some time. The luck of the Irish, it seems, extends to their canine companions—and thankfully for Neesha, somebody up there was listening.