Golden retriever rescued after spending a year lost in woods

It was a golden retrieval.

In a story too heartwarming even for Disney, a golden retriever named Walter has been reunited with its grateful owner after it had gone missing for more than a year.

“The nightmare is over,” said owner Kate Olson, who had her her long-lost pooch returned to her on Nov. 13.

The “Homeward Bound”-esque saga began on Nov. 26, 2019 while Olson, originally from New Hampshire, was celebrating Thanksgiving with her family in Arnold, Missouri KSDK-TV reported.

Walter, who suffered from anxiety, allegedly slipped his collar and took off into the woods.

Distraught over his disappearance, Olson stayed in Missouri for weeks looking for her dog and printing and posting flyers. She eventually returned to the East Coast after coming up empty, whereupon she started receiving reports of people sighting her dog in the woods behind an industrial plant. After a return trip to Missouri in January proved equally fruitless, she began a “Where’s Walter?” Facebook page which inspired animal rescue advocates to continue the hunt.

“I want him to know that I’m not giving up on him,” Olson told KSDK at the time. She had already spent an estimated $1,000 on flyers and flights between New Hampshire and St. Louis.

Ten months passed and her fur baby had still had not been found, which began to dampen her hopes of ever locating him. Finally, on Friday, she got the news she had been praying for — Walter had been located by Lost Paws Trapping, a volunteer animal rescue service based in Belleville, Illinois. Olson hopped on the next flight to St. Louis and rejoined her pooch that night. 

To help rehabilitate Walter after his harrowing ordeal, one of Olson’s friends started a GoFundMe page to cover his ride to the vet as well as medical expenses.

Fortunately, Walter appears to be faring fine. His owner reports that the lucky pup has since received two baths and a complimentary cleaning at the local groomer. She also regularly posts Facebook updates on his status.

“He is the same sweet boy he was before and maybe even sweeter because he has missed getting loved on!” said Olson.

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