NEAR STONEMAN LAKE, AZ (3TV/CBS5) -- Thirteen days lost in the wilderness.
A dog who had been missing since he was thrown from a car crash two weeks ago has been found, and is now safely back in the arms of his owner.
On March 12, 2019, Department of Public Safety troopers investigated a crash on southbound Interstate 17 north of Stoneman Lake.
"The weather that day was rain with some snow and some icy conditions," said DPS Trooper Randi Wybron.
During the crash, a pit bull mix named Dozer was thrown from the vehicle, and then disappeared from the scene.
Troopers spent hours that day looking for the dog without success. Wybron says that night, she lost sleep over the thought of him lost in the high desert.
For the next few weeks, there were a number of "Dozer sightings."
Between March 12 and March 25, troopers received several calls for a dog matching Dozer’s description. But each time, troopers were unable to locate the dog.
Based on all the calls, troopers still believed that Dozer was very much alive, so they never gave up hope.
"Some of us even took lunch breaks in the area just to get a sighting and an update on where he could possible be," said Wybron.
Troopers eventually reached out to Central Arizona Animal Search and Rescue for additional help.
The organization helped set a trap in the area of the crash.
Troopers and volunteers kept consistently checking the trap for Dozer.
their persistence paid off. On Monday, March 25, Dozer was found in the trap by a rescue volunteer!
Dozer was thin and exhausted, but he was in good spirits and had no major injuries.
Troopers and volunteers returned Dozer to his owner, who was extremely thankful to have the beloved dog back home where he belongs.
"It was a big relief to get him back home and it was worth every second to see the smile on his owner's face and hear how much they had missed him and how happy they were to have him home," said Wybron.
Thanks to DPS and Central Arizona Animal Search and Rescue for not giving up!