The journey for a young dog named Odin ended with a reunion of happy tears, smiles and a belief in miracles.

Odin, who moved to Montrose from Ohio in May of 2019, disappeared two days after his arrival when he ran off into the woods, not to be seen by his caretakers again until the evening of Jan. 31.

This tale of the young pup certainly had a happy ending, but the dog’s travels and rescue are the highlight of Odin’s journey. Here is Odin’s story:

It all began in May of last year, when Brenda and Chris Black took in their granddaughter’s dog as she prepared to attend basic training for the U.S. Army, and couldn’t take the pup with her.

The Blacks, who reside in Montrose, were just getting the dog settled in at their home in May when Odin took off into the woods and didn’t return.

“My husband took the dog out; Odin looked at him, cocked his head, and then just ran off into the woods,” said Brenda. That is when the grueling search began for Odin.

The search

Devastated, Brenda and Chris began their search. They contacted neighbors, put out flyers, contacted Susquehanna Valley Dog Control, set traps and did everything within their power to track Odin. According to Brenda, they even ran missing dog ads in the local newspapers, but to no avail.

“We only had rare sightings in our area, possibly five or six,” said Brenda, adding, “the closest sighting was about 10 miles away, but he would bolt off, so we could never make an identification.”

Brenda described this period of time, 246 days to be exact, as stressful, with many sleepless nights.

“When I heard about big snowstorms coming, I would get really worried,” Brenda added. Her granddaughter, Brianna Gallagher, was also devastated when she learned that Odin was missing.

As time went on, hope started to diminish, although, Brenda said, they never gave up hope entirely and they continued praying for a miracle.

That miracle was about to unfold on Jan. 26, when a dog appeared at a New York trailer park, Hidden Valley Mobile Home Park, in Candor.

Denise Liske, who serves as the dog control officer for Richford, Berkshire, Newark Valley and Candor, and operates a 501C3 known as AngelEyes Animal Rescue and Wildlife Rehabilitation out of her Willseyville home, was contacted by the Tioga County Sheriff’s office regarding a dog that was spotted on West Creek Road in Candor.

DCO Liske went out to investigate, and brought in some help from Diamond Paws Animal Rescue, also located in Candor. Together, Liske and Michele Peabody from Diamond Paws went to work to try and secure the dog safely.

“He appeared in rough shape,” said Liske when she first saw the dog.

Because of his nervousness and appearance, they soon determined that the dog was on the run. Between Peabody and Liske, they were able to conduct a near “round the clock” rescue operation, with a main goal of capturing the dog, which was later identified as Odin.

“We saw him almost every day,” said Peabody, adding, “We were basically following his tracks and looking for his food source.”

But when either of the two rescuers got close to the dog, he would run, once again evading the rescuers.

“He was scared of the unknown, we just couldn’t catch him,” Peabody added.

Day in and day out, the dog control officer and Peabody remained focused on capturing the lost pup, and were able to learn about his personality, even while he was on the run.

But they remained focused, and at one point decided that a trap to catch the elusive Odin would be necessary. At that point they had the community engaged as well, and in particular the residents of Hidden Valley Mobile Home Park – and specifically a woman named Linda Hatton and Daisy, her boxer.

In Hatton’s recollection, she started seeing her dog playing with a large but young dog.

“I thought it was the neighboring farmer’s dog, so I didn’t think anything of it,” said Hatton.

She did notice, however, that the dog was wearing a collar, and decided to see if the tags would identify the pup’s owner, but she couldn’t get near the dog. She also stated that she had noticed several vehicles coming in and around the park, but had not spoken to anyone in them. But that was about to change.

Hatton contacted DCO Liske to report the dog, as she now assumed that the dog was a stray. Through the power of social media, Liske shared a screenshot of a post she received of a lost dog from Susquehanna County back in May of 2019, which was Odin. And although skeptical, because of the length of time the dog has been missing and the fact that the location was over 50 miles away from Odin’s home, Hatton was sure that this was the dog.

Hatton began talking to the rescuers as they came in and out of the park, and was offered an idea later on in the week. Next to her mobile home in the park, Hatton has a wooden shed. A plan was devised to put a bed and blanket in the back of the shed, and food nearby. Hatton also put snow at the entrance of the shed to track any paw prints.

When Hatton woke up on Friday, she noticed tracks going into the shed, and the blankets appeared to have been slept in and the food was gone. The plan was working. Hatton put out more food, and within one hour that food was gone as well.

With these developments, Hatton spoke with DCO Liske again, and they discussed moving the trap to the inside of the shed, but once the officer arrived at 5:30 p.m. that Friday evening, it was decided against it for the moment with concern for changing the surroundings so soon.

But the wheels were turning on the fate and the capture of Odin when Hatton once again spotted him. This time she put her dog Daisy inside, and placed more food in the shed.

And then, at that moment, Hatton looked out the window and saw Odin going inside of the shed.

Acting quickly, she ran out and shut the door, leaving Odin safely inside the shed.

DCO Liske, who was restocking another trap in the area, heard the door shut on the shed, and she knew that the incoming call immediately from Hatton would be the call that she had been eagerly awaiting. Liske asked, “Did we get him?” Hatton exclaimed, “Yes.”

Because of a hole in the shed that was wide enough, Hatton was able to put the lead that DCO Liske handed to her around Odin’s neck as the officer brought the kennel out of the vehicle. Hatton then assisted Liske in securing Odin in the kennel and moving him to the vehicle for transport.

“He was real scared, but he looked good for being on the run for so long,” said Liske after Odin’s capture.

A post on social media that originated on the Susquehanna Valley Lost Pets Facebook Page, and was shared in 2019 by Kim Gulick, administrator of the Lost & Found Pets Broome County, NY Facebook Page, sparked Gulick’s recollections after seeing the Candor Dog Control Facebook Page post. It was at that point that Gulick reached out to DCO Liske.

Liske initiated contact with the family. Photos were eventually exchanged and identification confirmed that this dog, found in Candor, N.Y., was indeed Odin.

“Initially I was skeptical that it would be the dog,” the officer said following the rescue, “but there was no doubt in the end.”

The Reunion

DCO Liske’s skepticism soon diminished, and it was primarily based on the dog’s collar. Odin’s tags were missing, yet there was a distinct clip on the collar that had a crest on it.

Liske immediately called Brenda Black and told her they believed they have caught Odin. Black was skeptical as well, as there were very few sightings, and because of the distance and time that had passed. But because of the distinctive collar, she knew it was Odin and they were headed to Candor. The dog’s owner also helped with identification via photos sent to the family by DCO Liske.

“I was shaking all the way there,” said Brenda, adding, “I couldn’t be tearful, but I was so happy. It’s a miracle we have been praying for.”

When they arrived in Willseyville to pick up Odin, he was waiting in the garage, as it was a quiet place for what would be a tearful reunion.

Prior to the family’s arrival from Montrose that Friday evening, and following Odin’s capture, the rescue workers spent some time with him.

“We really saw how smart and well trained he was once we got him settled down,” said DCO Liske.

Peabody explained that he knew how to sit, shake, stay, and various other commands.

“He’s a very smart dog,” said Peabody.

Once Brenda Black and her husband Chris entered the garage, the dog recognized the husband immediately, and then went over to Brenda.

“Odin looked very relieved,” said Brenda in an interview following the reunion.

There wasn’t a dry eye at the reunion; but according to DCO Liske, this is rare.

“We’ve had dogs missing for long periods of time reunited with their owners,” she said, “but a period of time this long is rare.”

DCO Liske also commented on the shape the dog was in.

“Not too bad,” she said, adding, “He wasn’t emaciated, and he has some raw spots and older injuries. It looks like his tail was broken as well, but overall, for being out that long, it’s not too bad.”

As for the trip home, Brenda said that Odin acted as if it was just another day, like he just left yesterday.

The first part was the ride home. Brenda described how Odin loves to ride, so he sat in the middle in the truck, and between them on the ride home.

“He was licking us and nibbling our ears, and acting like everything was okay,” Brenda added.

When they got home, Odin went right inside the house and remembered everything, including the family’s four cats.

“Four paws can travel pretty far,” Brenda stated of the entire ordeal.

She also praised the work of the animal rescue personnel that assisted.

“They were fantastic,” Brenda noted of all of the rescue groups that stepped up to help. “We can’t thank them enough.”

The Blacks will be taking Odin to a vet on Monday, and are hopeful for a clean bill of health following his travels.

As for the rescues that assisted, things are busy every day for them; but this rescue was special.

“We didn’t realize the dog’s story until Thursday,” said Peabody following the reunion, adding, “Being a part of something like this — I’ve cried since it happened.”

Hatton, the woman that offered her shed for the capture of Odin, shed some tears as well.

“I knew we needed to help,” said Hatton, adding, “When I found out it was him, I cried.”

The dog’s original owner, the granddaughter, will be traveling to Montrose in the next couple of weeks, according to Brenda. For Odin, it was certainly a happy ending and he is glad to be back home — a home he only knew for two days before he departed on his journey.

Rescue Work

Tthe work continues for the animal rescue folks that assisted. AngelEyes Animal Rescue and Wildlife Rehabilitation gets about two calls a day regarding lost and abandoned animals.

Diamond Paws, who was recently incorporated as a 501C3, has been assisting DCO Liske in her rescue related efforts, and noted that she is learning a lot.

“We work well together,” Peabody said of DCO Liske, adding, “When you rescue you have to have patience, and you need to remain focused.”

To learn more about Diamond Paws Animal Rescue or AngelEyes Animal Rescue and Wildlife Rehabilitation, you can find both on Facebook.