BILLINGS – The movie Dave Sowers has felt trapped in for the past 42 days is finally over. And it’s got a happy ending.
Jade, an 18-month-old Australian shepherd that has been missing in Yellowstone National Park since a July 23 wreck has finally been reunited with her owner Sowers after 42 days in the wild.
Sowers’ girlfriend, Laura Gillice, was able to entice Jade from a meadow around Canyon Village with the help of her own dog, an Australian shepherd named Leila.
“Bottom line, it’s kind of funny,” Sowers said. “I’ve been telling people it’s like the movie 'Groundhog Day.' I feel like my life’s been on hold for 42 days while I’ve been looking for my lost dog. Now my life’s finally back to normal again.”
Jade had been spotted numerous times by people around Canyon Village with increasing frequency in recent weeks. The effort to track down Jade has included the help of some 25 people, all of whom Gillice and Sowers hoped to see Friday night when they celebrated in Canyon Village before departing Saturday for Denver, where Sowers works as a graphic designer and Gillice works as an American Kennel Club agility trainer.
Gillice had been waking up at daylight for the past several days, walking Leila and coercing her to bark in hopes that Jade would come running to see her playmate.
Although Leila undoubtedly helped, it was Gillice who Jade came running to around 7 Friday morning.
“It was a beautiful morning with the fog in the meadow and another couple had stopped to take pictures and out of the corner of my eye I saw this black and white movement,” Gillice said. “I asked the couple, because they had binoculars, ‘Is that a deer or a dog?’ and she said ‘It’s a dog.’ I just called to her in puppy voices. She just came running to me, like ‘Where’ve you been mom?’ "
Gillice leashed Jade while a friend held Leila before they walked back to the hotel where Dave was staying, feeding the skin-and-bones Liela bits of Spam as they went.
You have free articles remaining.
Upon arrival, Laura opened the door to the hotel room and asked who wanted to see Jade. A “hugfest” ensued.
Both Gillice and Sowers were seriously injured in the July 23 wreck.
Sowers was airlifted to a hospital out of fear that he had broken his neck. He came out of the ordeal with a broken arm, a broken leg, broken ribs – and a broken heart when he learned that Jade had bolted when park rangers whom she was in the care of opened a car door.
Efforts to find Jade have included fliers, leaving out blankets and clothes with Gillice's and Sowers’ scents on them, playing recordings of Dave calling to Leila on cellphones and speakers and live traps with wet dog food placed by park rangers.
The compassion of others has not been lost on Sowers.
“A lot of people have just dedicated their weekends to looking for her. It’s amazing, we didn’t think we’d ever see her again,” he said.
It’s a happy ending to a what at times was a heart-wrenching story for the Denver couple, but the final scenes are playing out to smiling faces. Let’s just hope Jade doesn’t have plans for a sequel in the works.