Nfld. & Labrador

Zoe the dog returns home after being lost in the woods for nearly a year

The plucky yellow Labrador mix escaped from a backyard near Brigus Junction last April. Her owners thought she was dead, until a homeowner caught her on video, foraging for food in the middle of the night on his property last fall.

Plucky yellow Labrador mix survived freezing temperatures, rain and snowstorms — even Snowmageddon

Zoe's owners say she's doing well since she arrived home in Bay Roberts. (Peter Vaters/Facebook)

After nearly a year on her own in the wilderness, Zoe the dog is finally home in Bay Roberts. 

According to a Facebook group dedicated to rescuing her, the yellow Labrador mix wandered into a trap set by her search team early Wednesday morning. 

"Last night was a night unlike any other. It will go down in the books as one that will NEVER be forgotten. We are completely overjoyed and appreciative to have our girl Zoe HOME WITH US!!" wrote owner Rebecca Curlew in a post to the group Wednesday morning.

Zoe escaped from a backyard near Brigus Junction last April. That means she survived freezing temperatures, countless rain and snowstorms — even Snowmageddon — on her own for months on the Avalon Peninsula.

Her owners thought she was dead, until a homeowner caught her on video, foraging for food in the middle of the night on his property. In November that video launched a massive search effort for the dog, which finally came to an end this week.

Curlew said it didn't take long for Zoe to let her guard down with owner Peter Vaters, and head home.

Owners Rebecca Curlew and Peter Vaters, cuddle with Zoe just a few hours after they were reunited for the first time since last April. (Rebecca Curlew/Facebook)

"After Zoe had sniffed Peter's hand and had calmed down slightly, Peter slowly entered the cage.… He was able to coax her as he gradually got nearer and nearer," Curlew wrote. 

"After speaking with a vet, we felt it to be best to bring her home for the time being.… She did not have any major open wounds or injuries [and] the vet felt it would be best to give her time to calm down and adjust."

This is the moment Vaters was finally able to approach his fearful dog the night she was caught and rescued. (Rebecca Curlew/Facebook)

Welcome home, Zoe

Zoe's story launched a remarkable online community and search effort. 

On Wednesday, the Facebook group called "Help find Zoe" — which has more than 10,000 members — changed its name to "Welcome home, Zoe."

"We have no idea what the next few days will bring, but rest assured that we will be doing absolutely anything that we can to readjust her to our home. This has been a long time coming," Curlew wrote.

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