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FOR THE LOVE OF KATIE: She quit her job, he got night goggles, they searched 57 days for their dog

Ms. King worked as a postal carrier. Though the money had helped supplement their pensions, she gave her notice. 'Katie was just more important to me. I just said, I’ll finish this week, and that’s it.'

MIKE BAKER: ‘After a late night at a stock-car race, Carole and Verne King returned to their dog-friendly hotel in Kalispell, Mont., and made a devastating discovery. Their 7-year-old Border collie, Katie, was no longer in the room. She had apparently managed to unlatch the door, possibly spooked by a thunderstorm that had swept through the area. At the front desk, an attendant said she had seen an anxious dog bolt out the front door hours before.

The Kings were stunned. In the small city of 23,000 people that backs up to the sprawling wilderness near Glacier National Park, surrounded by forests and fields, where would they even start looking?
Over the next 57 days, the couple set out on a desperate search that included night-vision goggles, animal-tracking cameras and horse manure brought in from the family’s farm in Eastern Washington. Ms. King, a postal carrier, quit her job. “Every night going to bed, it was gut-wrenching,” said Mr. King. “Is she warm? Did she get to eat today? It tore us up”…

They were out until about 4 a.m., the Kings said, but saw no sign of the dog. The front-desk attendant asked them to send some photos, and together they began making and distributing fliers around the area. Hundreds of them were posted on light poles and community mailboxes, and handed out through door-to-door canvassing and at local sports events. They posted Katie’s photo on Facebook pages and lost-pet internet networks. Strangers joined them in walking the neighborhoods in search of Katie… Tips, however, were coming in. As people reported possible sightings, the Kings scrambled to follow up…

Ms. King was still working as a postal carrier back in the Spokane area. For a week in August, she had to return home while her husband continued the search. She talked with her bosses about taking some time off. But that wasn’t feasible during summer months. Though the money had helped supplement their pensions, she gave her notice. “Katie was just more important to me,” Ms. King said. “I just said, ‘I’ll finish this week, and that’s it.’”… A month and a half into the search, the Kings still felt hopeful. There was no sign of Katie, but also no evidence that she was dead…

On the morning of Sept. 15, Ms. King got another tip, this time from someone in a subdivision near the hotel. The resident said he was looking out the window and was confident that Katie was in his backyard. Ms. King and a friend rushed over. But by the time they got there, whatever he had seen was gone. They walked through the fields nearby, searching with binoculars. They encountered a couple out for a walk, told them about their search, and the woman pointed to a dog under a nearby tree. It was a Border collie. They began calling Katie’s name. The dog was cautious, wary. Others in the group went silent as Ms. King called out to the dog.

Katie came running at full speed and leapt into Ms. King’s arms. “All I could think about was, ‘I’m done. I got her,’” Ms. King said. “I was crying, I was holding onto her, wrapped her up in a bear hug. I couldn’t get her in the car fast enough to close her in so I wouldn’t lose her again.” Katie immediately fell asleep on the front seat of the car. She was dirty, dehydrated and had lost 15 pounds. They took her to an emergency vet, who shed tears upon learning that this was Katie, the dog so much of Kalispell had worked to find’.  SOURCE…

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