Seneca Krueger from St. Paul, Minnesota has fostered about 30 to 40 dogs before. However, when she took in a German Shepherd mix named Zelda, something was different. Krueger felt a special connection to Zelda. So, when the sweet dog finally got adopted, Krueger felt like she lost her own dog.
Clearly, Zelda felt the same way because she didn’t stay with her new family long. After 10 days, she took off, trying to find her way back to Krueger. Zelda had a long journey ahead of her, but she never gave up hope.
Zelda first arrived at Wags & Whiskers Animal Rescue after being saved from an overcrowded shelter. From there, Krueger was chosen to foster Zelda.
It was clear that Zelda had a rough past. She didn’t wag her tail for the first 2 months, didn’t bark for the first 4 months, and spent the majority of her time in fear of her own shadow. However, despite her fearful personality, Krueger fell in love with her.
After 7 months with Krueger, Zelda made lots of progress, so she was ready to be adopted. A family in Chanhassen, which is about 22 miles away, adopted Zelda. Krueger quickly realized that saying goodbye to Zelda would be even harder than she thought.
“Out of 30, 40 foster dogs, what happens is you love them, and then you let them go and you take the next one,” said Krueger. “And with Zelda, I adopted her out and spent 3 days crying. I felt like I had lost my dog.”
However, Zelda ran away from her new family after only 10 days with them. When Krueger found this out, she began searching immediately. The thought of Zelda alone in the cold terrified her.
Krueger put up fliers and shared social media posts about Zelda everywhere. She encouraged everyone to take a picture if they saw a dog that looked like Zelda. Like with any lost dog, she advised people not to chase her though, especially since Zelda was so shy.
Soon, lots of people began sending photos of Zelda. The adventurous dog was on the move. She appeared to be making her way back to Krueger. So, Krueger searched for the dog every chance she got.
“Three times a week I was out for 4 to 5 hours,” said Krueger. “The days where it was 30 below were the days I was most worried about her. I was out all day trying to find her so that she could be warm.”
Krueger was having a hard time doing it all alone, so she reached out to START for Dogs, a group of volunteers that help find lost dogs. For a while, Zelda’s appearances were less frequent, but then, she was spotted two blocks from Krueger’s home. She was so close!
A family about two miles from Krueger’s home spotted Zelda in an alley. Right away, they started leaving food out for her, hoping she would return. Sure enough, the hungry pup came back for some food. The next day, START for Dogs set up a trap around the food to catch Zelda. The trap captured her right away.
Krueger received a call in the middle of the night to alert her that Zelda was captured. She rushed to the scene right away. At first, she worried that the dog wasn’t Zelda because she was much skinnier and her coat was a lighter color. But after they scanned her microchip, they confirmed that it was her.
Zelda had traveled for 97 days to return to Krueger. Right away, Krueger noticed changes in the sweet dog’s behavior. Now, Zelda was more loving and affectionate toward Krueger. The once skittish dog now seemed happier than ever.
“I think we believe we choose dogs, but I really think it’s dogs who choose us, and I think that’s what happened,” Krueger said.
Zelda’s Chanhassen family decided that she was not a good fit for them. So, Krueger adopted Zelda without hesitation. Zelda’s long journey proved that the two of them were truly meant to be together. Krueger has no idea how the dog found her way home or what she did all that time, but she’s just grateful to have her back.
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