Dog found alive on island after fleeing owners

Animal control in a rural area of ​​central Michigan says they rescued Zaria, a Great Dane who ran away from her owners and eluded recapture efforts for a month.

Clare County Animal Shelter said in a Facebook post on Wednesday that Zaria was successfully captured, marking the end of the saga that drew the attention of dog lovers online. A follow-up post, which drew over 1,600 reactions, thanked the community for their support and included a picture of the white and tan Great Dane beginning her recovery after a month of being malnourished alone.

According to a post from the shelter, on the night of August 17, Zaria disappeared from her home in Harrison, a small town in central Michigan’s Lower Peninsula. The post described the dog as 2 years old, 50 pounds and skinny due to her high metabolism, as well as being very friendly but scared of herding.

Animal Control Officer Bob Dobson told the Morning Sun last month that Zaria had been staying at Cranberry Lake northeast of Harrison and was severely emaciated. Officers spotted the wayward dog using a drone, but Dobson said animal control slowly and cautiously pursued Zaria.

Great Dane blessing the animals
Dianna Maria stands next to her 170-pound dog Picasso, a Great Dane, before the annual animal blessing ceremony April 16, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. Zaria, a 2-year-old Great Dane, was rescued after a month of rescue efforts on an island in rural Michigan.
Mario Tama/Getty Images

“We didn’t want to push them [too] As you can see from the picture, we don’t want to exhaust them [too] much, it could kill her,” Dodson said in the Facebook post, which included a picture of a thinning Zaria, her skin hugging the ribs of her large frame as she waded through the island’s reeds.

Harrison Lumber donated pallets to provide a better route to the island for volunteers who were warned they would get very wet, Dodson said in the Post. He added that Moore’s Lost K9 Search and Recovery set up traps on the island. “Keep your fingers crossed,” he said.

Dodson told CBS affiliate WNEM-TV in August that he suspected that Zaria broke off her leash one night when she was taken outside by her owner and started running, falling into the water and swimming until she did made it to the island.

Dodson confirmed that the dog is “in this fight or flight mode at the moment,” according to the broadcaster. “She’s in flight mode right now.”

The island’s swampy conditions made more conventional rescue techniques less effective, the station reports. After setting two traps on the island, the rescuers began placing hot dogs, mac & cheese, and breakfast sandwiches nearby to lure Zaria.

After Zaria set the traps, she began eating and drinking daily but did not get close enough to the trap to set it off, ABC affiliate WPBN reported. Dodson told people who wanted to capture the dog that the island was privately owned and the owner had threatened trespassing.

Moore’s Lost K9 Search and Recovery said in a Facebook post in early September that Zaria has become more trusting and has fallen deeper into the trap each time she has entered. But the company said intruders on the island startled Zaria.

“Zaria is constantly looking around and haunting back into the deep swamp with additional noise,” the company said in a post. “This setback cost Zaria a lot.”

The company said in a post last week it would end its efforts after spending “hundreds of hours and sleepless nights conditioning Zaria for multiple traps” after the owner said he would no longer cooperate. The company said Zaria watched them remove their equipment and left the salvage to the county’s animal control.

Animal Control eventually rescued Zaria, who has been examined by a vet and will be fed several small meals a day until her system adjusts to increased feeding.

news week reached out to Clare County Animal Shelter for comment. Dog found alive on island after fleeing owners

Rick Schindler

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