A golden retriever was reunited with her family after being lost in the corn fields of Iowa for five months.
Molly, a 6-year-old microchipped golden retriever, slipped out an open door while getting groomed at Spitfire Farm’s grooming service in the rural town of Anita on June 14. Her owners and members of the community scoured the area looking for her. Despite a few sightings, Molly was elusive and ignored tempting treats, toys, and even her owners’ calls.
“Two weeks after she disappeared, my wife and I decided after [some] rain to see if she would be out getting a drink. She was out by the cattle lot drinking out of a mud puddle,” explained Randy Ruth, according to Fox 4 KDFW. “We stopped 10 feet from her. My wife called her name, and she looked and ran into the cornfield. She was in survival mode.”
Despite such setbacks, the Ruths and the community remained steadfast in their commitment to getting Molly home. In the following months, the Ruths received several calls alerting them to sightings from what Randy called “an army of searchers.”
“We had a mother and son call us and ask if they could come down from Audubon and look for her. They had hamburgers to put in the live trap to help coax her in the trap,” Randy recalled, per Fox 4. “We had no idea who they were.”
Although months went by with no luck, the continued engagement from the community and reports of Molly sightings helped keep the Ruths hopeful.
“We didn’t care and were just so happy people were looking for her,” Randy said.
Yet a breakthrough came on October 29, when Molly came upon a young farmer tending his corn fields. She was exhausted and laid down in one of the rows.
“That’s when he called me and said, ‘I’m looking at Molly,’’’ Randy said, Fox 4 reported. “I asked, ‘is she dead or alive?’ ‘Alive!’”
Shortly after, Randy was able to finally tell his wife Cynthia, who was at work, that Molly was safely inside his pickup truck.
Following her ordeal, Molly required some medical attention, which dog groomer Rose Shoemaker paid for.
Randy spoke about how much work the Shoemakers put into finding Molly.
“Jay [Shoemaker, Rose’s husband], was out looking for her almost every day driving the roads,” Randy told Fox 4. “Accidents happen, and it was hard on us, but Rose didn’t mean for this to happen.”
Now recuperating at home, Molly is readjusting to her old life with her best friend, a German shepherd named Nala. Previously, the Ruths would allow her to wander around their property, which is outfitted with a wireless dog fence. However, Molly’s adventurous spirit and thick coat proved no match for it. As such, she has a new rule to abide by — she must be leashed while outside to avoid a repeat of her great escape.
“We are just so grateful to have her back and grateful to all the people who helped look for her,” Randy said, per Fox 4.
Many dog experts discourage rescuers and even owners from approaching a lost dog. Some pets go directly into survival mode when separated from their owners. Running around the woods chasing them down could create more panic and make the dog even more skittish.
Instead, experts suggest staying seated in one spot near where the dog was last spotted. They also recommend setting up a safe place for the dog outside with some cover, lying down some familiar items such as toys and blankets alongside some food and water to coax it out. Once full from eating and drinking, a dog might settle and be more approachable.