Man Tirelessly Searches For Lost Therapy Dog That Saved Him From A Past Trauma

Therapy dogs have a superpower: gentleness. Trained to comfort those who need it, these pooches develop strong bonds with their lucky owners and offer a silent strength. They aren’t there for entertainment: they’re friends who keep their owners safe and sane.

One man from Santa Clarita, California, like so many others, found his savior in the form of a furry pup. So when the script flipped and his therapy dog was the one who needed saving, he swore he would do anything necessary to see his pooch rescued…

Justin Scott had a high-stress job. As an EMT, acting fast in ugly and tense situations was habitual. Coping with the emotional weight of the calls, however, wasn’t getting any easier. 

Justin Scott / Facebook

One day, Justin and his crew were called to help an unresponsive person. Upon arrival, Justin saw the person in need was his friend. Despite their best efforts, Justin’s friend didn’t make it.

Zucker School of Medicine / Flickr

Justin was devastated, and getting up every day just to re-enter triggering situations took a toll on him. He needed some extra emotional support, and he started considering what form that might take…

Jim / Flickr

Justin and his wife, Sara Adcock, discussed their options. As a fellow EMT, she understood the mental toll of being a first responder. A medical support dog, they decided, would do wonders for Justin’s mental health.

California State University / Flickr

Their new doggie would assist Justin through his grief and anxieties, but that would only possible if they shared a true bond. The couple came across several pups, but they wanted to wait until they felt a special connection with a pooch…

Jon Fisher / Flickr

The moment they met Shelby they knew she was their perfect match! Justin said, “I looked at her still in the shelter parking lot and told her, ‘I saved you, and now I need you to save me,’ and she did. She pulled me out of the grips of hell.”

Sara Adcock / Facebook

Justin and Shelby became fast best friends. He took her everywhere and relied on her as a companion. So when the family set off on a holiday camping getaway, Shelby, naturally, was by Justin’s side.

Art Pillen / Flickr

Could there be a more beautiful place to spend the Fourth of July than in the wilderness of the Eastern Sierras? Breathing in the fresh mountain air, they set up camp. But before they settled in, Shelby began to act strangely.

Sandeep Thomas / Flickr

Nervous in her new surroundings, Shelby bolted. She ran for the cover of the trees. The heavily wooded treeline made it impossible to spot her, and she wouldn’t come as they called out her name. Deep in the forest, 6 hours from home, Shelby had vanished.

Sara Adcock / Facebook

Justin and Sara searched the nearby woods for days and set traps to catch her. At their campsite, they positioned cameras to see if Shelby might wander through the area while they slept.

Uphilldowndale

They found no signs of their gal, but they caught something on film that confirmed some of their fears. The food traps lured a few bears into the camp! Now they knew for sure some of the obstacles Shelby was up against. 

Sara Adcock / Facebook

Justin was sick with worry. His therapy dog was scared, fending for herself in the wild, and in serious danger. Could she escape from hungry predators? After two weeks of intense searching, the couple turned to a professional for help.

Justin Scott / Facebook

They put in a call to a real pet detective, Babs Fry, who founded A Way Home For Animals, a non-profit search and rescue group. With Babs on the case, their chances of finding Shelby were as good as they could get.

Babs performed an initial search of the area, but found no signs of Shelby. Babs notified all the local businesses and posted contact information on every signpost. If Shelby had been spotted, she would hear about it.

Visit Mammoth

Soon enough, a call came in! Shelby had been sighted. Babs conducted a reconnaissance mission in the area, noting all food and water sources nearby and strategically placing five separate traps. The waiting game continued.

Babs Fry / Facebook

Days went by and Shelby still evaded capture. Babs was more determined than ever. If Shelby was spotted once, surely it could happen again, but each moment the dog spent exposed in the woods was a risk…

Cindy Obitz / Flickr

Then the phone rang! A good Samaritan caught a glimpse of Babs’ paw prints 45 minutes away from her previous sighting. Shelby — somehow a tough survivalist pup — had ventured out on a nighttime food hunt.

T Jijiashvili Photography / Flickr

Babs raced over and set her traps, but she needn’t wait long. Tempted by the food, Shelby fell for the trap! After weeks of fending for herself in the woods, she was finally in safe hands, but before Babs could count her case closed, she had to reunite the dog with her distraught family.  

Sara Adcock / Facebook

For 28 days, Shelby survived on her own in the wilderness, and Justin set up a camera to capture the moment his fierce furry pal returned home. When she entered the room, initially she was hesitant, rightfully guarded after her time in the elements.

Sara Adcock / Facebook

Her trepidation didn’t last long. The moment she got close enough, she bombarded her mom with kisses! Then she jumped on her hind legs to greet her best friend, Justin. Wagging her docked tail frantically, she was so happy she was to be home with her family!

Sara Adcock / Facebook

Surrounded by her family, Shelby rolled on her back, wiggling, and received some well-deserved tummy rubs. Justin knew Shelby was one of a kind. She had the guts to make it on her own.But he had to try with all his might to save her, just like she had saved him.

Sarah Adcock / Facebook

Recommended From Honest To Paws

Stay up to date on the
latest trending stories!

like our facebook page!