Dog Survives 53 Days in Wild

A dog that ran away from a deadly car accident in Nevada survived for 53 days on its own by eating roadkill. There were actually two Shetland sheepdogs in the car that crashed in the Nevada desert about 200 miles east of Reno. One of them died, but the survivor, Dooley, managed to remain alive by finding dead animals to eat and water sources on ranches.

Dooley lost over 20 pounds and when found, a bird bone was discovered inside the dog’s throat, which was removed. The accident took place on December 27 and Dooley was found February 18. The owner’s husband died in the car crash, so finding Dooley and experiencing the reunion was a big boost in the midst of grief.

The owner never gave up hope Dooley was out there, and there were sightings for a while, but no solid contact. Eventually Dooley was captured by one of the owner’s friends and an associate using a horse and a Jeep. Shetlands are known for their intelligence so it isn’t entirely surprising one could survive for so long on its own. The average lows for January and February at Battle Mountain, near the accident’s location, are 17 and 22 degrees Fahrenheit. It isn’t clear where Dooley slept, but it must have been very difficult at times.

GPS trackers are available for pets, but it isn’t clear exactly how reliable or accurate these products are currently, or how wellthey might work in a desert setting. In the future, such technology might function very well and result in fewer lost pets.

Image Credit:Sannse, Pacarane Political Party owned by Mrs Laversuch, Wiki Commons

Dog pictured above is not Dooley, rather it is meant to be a representative of a Shetland.

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rene davis
irene davis5 years ago

Poor Dooley, losing his mate. But what an amazing dog!

Sue Matheson
Sue Matheson5 years ago


Robert O.
Robert O5 years ago

Such an incredible story. Thanks Jake.

Kathy Perez
Kathy Johnson5 years ago

what a resourceful dog! so glad she is okay !

Debbie Crowe
Debbie Crowe5 years ago

Poor Dooley!! He must have been so scared out there by himself thinking he had lost his whole family!!

I am glad to hear that he was found and he is back with at least one of his owners. Now, they can grieve together. God bless them.

Carrie Anne Brown

thanks for sharing :)

Eternal Gardener
Eternal Gardener5 years ago

Well done, for a domesticated breed!

Kiana S.
Kiana S6 years ago

Poor baby (and poor family!). It's a good thing shetlands are so fluffy, or he probably wouldn't have made it. I'm glad this story has a sort of happy ending.

Hanna Barney
Hanna Barney6 years ago

aw. this is both sad and sweet at the same time. i hope everyone the best. love and rest to the family mourning this loss.

Marieanne Phillips

Great ending to a sad start.