Franklin on a happier day, Kenai River
Franklin’s ordeal took place in January 2014. We live in the Meadow Lakes area when one day I saw only one of our dogs outside. I figured he was bouncing around the lake area in the back of our property. As the day wore on, my husband and I and my daughter Aerial became concerned, as he was not home yet. Something was not right. We called and whistled and called for him all night. We didn’t know it, but Franklin had been snared by a trapper.
The next day we had posters made, and we hit every vet clinic in the valley. Every street corner and every pole had a missing poster on it. We went to a place to have a couple of huge posters of his picture made for the intersections on Pittman and Parks. We checked the animal shelter every other day. We followed false leads, and for nine days went to any place a person thought they may have seen him. Unfortunately, they were all dead leads. About this time, we started to lose hope, as we knew that the day he disappeared, he would have come home. A few of these days that he was missing, it had gotten to –9 below. We drove around countless times, checking on dogs that had been hit by cars, and to no avail. In our hearts we knew he had been dog napped or worse, dead somewhere.
About 7 pm on the ninth day of his disappearance, I was just getting home from a false lead (we even drove our snowmachines around looking for him earlier in the hunt for him) my husband gasped, and screamed NO WAY as he looked out the kitchen window. I was in shock wondering what the commotion was about….and he said IT”S FRANKLIN!! I feel to my knees, and opened the door. He was weak, and unable to climb the stairs. I started to scold him, when my husband stopped me and said OH MY GOD! We picked him up and brought him into the house. Panicked, my husband said, “There is a snare on his neck!!” He ran for the shop to get tin snips, which he couldn’t get under the snare. It was too tight. At this time I had called my daughter whose was out looking for him also. Fred was able to get the snare off, and as the snare was peeled away, his neck broke open. Aerial arrived, and Fred (my hubby) started outside to look for his tracks to see where he may have some from. I carried Franklin into the back of Aerials car and jumped in and headed for the North Country Vet clinic.
Franklins eyes where sunken in, his neck swelled to a huge gullet. He was on the brink of death. The vet said he would not have made it through the night. His temperature was 106. He had lost 17 pounds. He was severely dehydrated, and needed surgery quick. The snare was so small I could not get it around my thigh, yet it was around my large dogs neck. The ordeal he went through was unfathomable. I couldn’t imagine what he felt like. And the larger mystery is how did he get loose? From the appearance of the snare, maybe he twisted it? Did the trapper who never checks his snare happen upon him, and let him loose? The frayed end of the snare is the only clue to how he got loose…
I took the snare to the shelter, and it had no numbers on it. I let everyone know that he came home, and took down all the posters we put up. About $3700.00 later, we were able to bring him home. My husband had left on foot that night Franklin came home, and it was snowing. Franklins tracks where being covered and we still can’t figure out where he had been snared, but it was close, within a 1/2 mile or less of our neighborhood. He was snared from day one, or he would have come home. 9 days of frigid temps. No food, and perhaps some snow to eat for hydration. We cried tears of joy and happiness that he was somehow spared a grueling death, as he should have been dead. I have seen pictures of large wolves killed overnight by snares. Franklin is a story of survival, determination to make it home, and sheer luck. He is the most loved and well trained dog we have ever had. He tracks, he helps retrieve ducks, does tricks, speaks and brings so much joy to our lives. He is protective of his family, and it seems that he doesn’t have any PTSD from the event. He had lost his voice for a week, all he could do is croak a bit. Franklin is back to normal, but we worry about this all winter long.
I have nothing against trapping at all, just not in populous areas. PERIOD. This is Franklin’s story. A dog that has the will and a lot of love to survive.