Friday January 05, 2018

'Like a dream come true': Dog snatched by eagle in Pennsylvania found alive 6 km away

Monica Newhard, right, and her granddaughter, Helen Welch, hold their pet bichon frise, Zoey. The dog's rescuer, Christina Hartman, stands behind them.

Monica Newhard, right, and her granddaughter, Helen Welch, hold their pet bichon frise, Zoey. The dog's rescuer, Christina Hartman, stands behind them. (Monica Newhard/Facebook)

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Monica Newhard never expected to see her bichon frise Zoey again.

Her brother was looking after the four-kilogram pooch Tuesday at her home on the banks of the Lehigh River in Pennsylvania. That's when an eagle swooped out of the sky and snatched Zoey up in its talons.

"He said, you know, for a moment or two, it was a beautiful sight. For those two seconds, it was like wow, that's beautiful," Newhard told As It Happens host Carol Off.

"But then he realized all of sudden, oh my god, it has Zoey."

Newhard's brother drove around for an hour, frantically looking for any sign of the furry white creature. Eventually, he gave up and called his sister to break the news.

Lost all hope

Newhard said she was heartbroken — not just for Zoey, but for her granddaughter Helen who is particularly fond of the seven-year-old family pet.

"I cried for my granddaughter as much as [for] Zoey because I didn't know how Helen was going to be without Zoey," she said.

"I called my husband and my son and we devised a plan of searching — not for a live puppy, but for the remains."

Little did they know their bitty bichon would be found later that afternoon — six kilometres away.

Zoey

Monica Newhard and her granddaughter Helen pose with Zoey and two other dogs. (Monica Newhard/Facebook )

Zoey's rescuer was Christina Hartman, 51, who said she was driving on a snow-covered back road when she spotted a furry white lump ahead and pulled over to investigate.

"I notice this little frozen dog, icicles hanging from all over. It could hardly move," Hartman told the Associated Press.

She scooped up the whimpering pooch, wrapped her in a blanket and took her home, feeding the dog two bowls of chicken-and-rice soup. Gradually, the bichon warmed up.

"This dog belongs to a family, and I'm gonna find out who owns it," Hartman said she told herself.

It didn't take long. She spotted Newhard's public Facebook post Wednesday morning and gave her a call. 

"I said, 'It's a miracle! I have your dog!"'

'More than it could chew'

Zoey had bruises and a few missing patches of fur, but was otherwise in good health.

"We cried and we went there and we were hugging Christina. We were hugging Zoey," Newhard said. "Zoey was happy to see us. It was, oh my god, it was like a dream come true for us."

It's not clear how far the eagle might have carried the dog before it set out on its own.

"My guess is the eagle probably didn't realize it had bitten off more than it could chew," Newhard said.

Zoey, meanwhile, is recovering well — but Newhard said she's definitely been affected by the ordeal.

"She doesn't want to go outside and I kind of don't blame her."

— With files from Associated Press