Caffrey (Just Imagine: A New Life On An Old Boat, 2008) recounts the story of the heartwarming rescue effort undertaken to save one feisty, independent, and traumatized puppy in Yellowstone National Park.
David Sowers and his new girlfriend, Laura Gillice, both from Denver, were in Yellowstone with their young Australian shepherds (Aussies), a break intended to give the dogs a chance to bond and Laura and David an opportunity to see whether their own relationship had potential. Their car was struck head-on by a pickup truck. After rescuers sent David and Laura to the hospital, park rangers set about removing their dogs from the back of the SUV. They leashed 10-month-old Laila and brought her out of her crate, but when they went for Jade, her plastic crate fell apart, and Jade made a high-spirited run into the woods. The next day, David (with several broken fingers, a shattered kneecap, and a few cracked ribs) and Laura returned to the accident scene, looking for Jade. So began a search that would last 44 days and enlist the support of hundreds of park workers and volunteers. The previous record for survival of a lost domestic dog in Yellowstone was two weeks. Drawing on personal interviews, Caffrey captures the torment of Jade’s family each time the pup is sighted, only to disappear once again. Her secondary-source research adds a wealth of information about Yellowstone and the challenges posed by the intimidating wildlife that call the park home—wolf packs, grizzly bears, coyotes, and bison. Detours into the back stories of Laura, David, and Kat Brekken (a park reservationist who worked tirelessly to keep the search active) add poignancy, dimension, and context to an already remarkable tale. Straightforward, unadorned prose is engrossing enough to keep readers turning the pages.
Not just for dog lovers; a passionate reminder of the wonders of Yellowstone and its inhabitants at a time when our national parks are being threatened.