A family from North Carolina is overjoyed to be reunited with their beloved family pet, after the dog was swept away in dangerous northern Ontario rapids, and survived for ten days in the wilderness.
Watch David Kareken greet his dog Kali at Prairie Portage Ranger Station in Quetico Provincial Park (video by Jenny Hengelfelt).
In early July David Kareken was camping and canoeing in the Boundary Waters area of Quetico Provincial Park with his wife, 15-year-old son and their seven-year-old golden retriever/border collie mix, Kali.
The family had stopped to admire a rushing waterway known as Rebecca Falls, when the dog slipped into the dangerous water.
"That's where we lost sight of her," said Kareken, an experienced whitewater paddler, who watched his pet disappear in the violent rapids.
After searching for hours, and certain that their beloved pet had drowned, the family made the difficult decision to move on, and to leave the park to grieve.
"We were ... just beside ourselves," he said. "You know, it was a nightmare."
But it wasn't long before the family's devastation turned to joy.
About two weeks after losing Kali, Kareken was surprised by a phone call at his home in Asheville, North Carolina, from Quetico Park. A dog matching Kali's description had been found.
"When we finally got the news, I just, I fell to my knees," he said, "because I couldn't believe it — you know, she was alive, and healthy, and okay."
He immediately got in his car, and began the journey back to northern Ontario to collect Kali, who was a little thinner, but otherwise in good shape.
"We were just ecstatic beyond words ... reuniting was just extraordinary," he said.
Kareken he's amazed that Kali was able to survive alone in the wilderness, but also at the series of events that led to her rescue.
She was discovered not on the mainland, but on an island by a camper. The park was alerted, and sent a boat. Kali was then flown to Atikokan, Ont., and park officials began reaching out to contacts in the area, asking if anyone knew of a missing dog.
Before leaving the park, Kareken had told the forest service, an outfitter, and a camp his son was scheduled to attend about what had happened. The park got a response.
"I don't know what powers of the universe were working on this," said Kareken, but Kali is now home and safe.
"We are doting on her," he said.