A dog is safe and sound at home tonight, after having been stranded on a small island in the Yellowstone River for at least four days.
Ron McCracken was working in the area near Blaine Hangar Monday morning when he suddenly heard a howl. He stopped and looked around, and saw a black lab on the opposite bank of the Yellowstone River. He talked to it make sure it was okay, and went home.
Then Tuesday came, and Wednesday, and the dog was still there, stranded and alone.
Ron says, "I kept checking every day and night and it was still there. I mean, it was quite a ways from any home."
After trying traditional channels, Ron and his wife Carla reached out to us Wednesday night hoping we could move things along. By Thursday morning a social media campaign was alive on Facebook.
We were there to see for ourselves as the pup continued to call for help, howling and pacing along the sandbar. A helicopter arrived to help lift the dog to safety, but dog was skittish and ran away.
We contacted our partners at the Yellowstone Valley Animal Shelter. Fighting through brush, fallen trees and slick mud, the team was finally able to track down the dog on the sandbar. With some hot dogs and a lot of sweet talk, the two workers were able to earn the dogs trust to get him close enough and slip a leash on him.
Ron watched the whole rescue from the opposite side of the river, and went to meet the dog at the shelter.
"It was great, after seeing the two girls over there," he says. "You could tell the dog was hungry, feeding him hotdogs or something and then just yeah, it was great."
You could say this is one lucky dog. Just an hour after being rescued, his owner arrived at the shelter.
We spoke to the owner of the dog, Dean Studer, who says his name is Abe. He says the dog ran away after the family moved into a new home.
He says the family has been looking for him for a week, and are overjoyed to have their furry family member back.
"I mean its incredible that our town is still that small town, that people care," Dean says. "That's what gave us hope. There's still a lot of people that are caring and look out for each other, even though you're strangers."