Their Dog Went Missing: She Quit Her Job. He Bought Night Goggles. They Searched for 57 Days.
A couple set out on a search that included night vision goggles, animal-tracking cameras, and horse manure brought into the rural Montana community from the family’s farm in Eastern Washington.
It’s every dog lovers nightmare. Carole and Verne King had taken their dog, Katie, to a dog-friendly hotel in Kalispell, Montana. After a late night at a stock-car race, they came back to their hotel room to find Katie was not there.
The 7-year-old Border Collie had somehow managed to to unlatch the door – possibly frightened by a pop-up thunderstorm – and the dog went missing in a rural area she didn’t know. A front desk employee of the hotel said she had seen an anxious-looking dog bolt out the door a few hours before. No one had seen her since.
The Kings were shocked. Where would they even start to look for Katie in a small city that backs up to a forest close to Glacier National Park?
That night, the Kings began desperately searching neighborhoods, alfalfa farms, and shopping malls in northern Kalispell.
As quoted in the New York Times, Verne King said, “Every night going to bed, it was gut-wrenching,” he said. “Is she warm? Did she get to eat today? It tore us up.”
The Search Continues
The Kings searched the first night until 4 a.m. the next morning, but saw no sign of Katie. The hotel they were staying at helped with creating posters that could be distributed across the area. Eventually, hundreds of posters were placed all over the small community and handed out at sporting events and through door-to-door pleas.
As luck would have it, Mr. King was a former Los Angeles law enforcement officer and used his skills of his previous profession to canvass abandoned buildings, along with following trails that could somehow give clues of Katie’s whereabouts. Unfortunately, everything was looking like a cold case.
Weeks Pass By
Weeks had passed and the Kings needed to try some more intensive ways of searching. They ordered two game cameras used by wildlife experts, they ordered animal traps, and used food products that could possibly coax Katie into a cage.
Another resourceful tactic that Carole King used was to jog and bike around neighborhoods in case her sweat could somehow signal Katie that she was in the area. “I don’t think there’s any street we haven’t been on in that area,” Ms. King was reported saying to the New York Times.
When a tip suggested that Katie might be on the move at nighttime, the couple purchased night goggles and set out for hours in the cold temperatures, hoping to see their beloved, Katie.
After all they had done and the time that they had spent searching for Katie, all leads and searches were coming up dry.
She Quit Her Job – Day 37
Still working as a postal worker to supplement their pensions, Carole King needed to go back to Spokane for a week in August while her husband continued looking for Katie. She talked to her bosses about taking additional time off to search for Katie, but with the summer months, that just wasn’t feasible. King decided to give her notice for the hope of Katie’s return.
“Katie was more important to me,” King said. “I just said, I’ll finish this week, and that’s it.”
Losing Hope – Day 53
Until the second week in September, now a month and a half into the search, the Kings had felt hopeful. They had no signs or evidence that Katie was deceased.
Then, 53 days into the search, Carole King started to feel her morale decline. “I wasn’t ready to go, but I was thinking, What else can I do?”
The community rallied together to keep the search going. One household had offered a free place for them to stay, more than a dozen others committed hours to helping them search. Landowners welcomed them onto their large areas of land to search.
Verne King had to go back to Washington to care for their farm and their other animals. He left a note behind for Katie, ending with, “I’ll seen you soon.”
“I Got Her” – Day 57
On the morning of September 15th, the King’s luck had finally changed. A resident from a subdivision near the hotel that Katie vanished from said he was sure he had seen Katie in his backyard. By the time Carole King and a friend of hers had rushed over, the dog was gone.
After that, they saw a couple on a walked told them about Katie. They pointed to a dog under a tree. It was a Border Collie. Everyone called her name. Katie was wary. The group went silent as Carole King called Katie’s name. Katie started running and leapt into King’s arms.
“All I could think about was, “I’m done. I got her,” King said. “I was crying, I was holding her, wrapped her up in a bear hug. I couldn’t get her in the car fast enough to close her in so I wouldn’t lose her again.”
King said that Katie fell asleep immediately in the car. She was dehydrated, dirty, and had lost 15 pounds. But, she was safe. Carole took her to an emergency vet right away. The vet’s eyes filled with tears learning that this was Katie, the Border collie that town had searched for and had grown to love.
To follow the journey of Katie, visit their Facebook page here.
See the footage of when Carole brings Katie home to reunite with Verne!