- Associated Press - Thursday, January 8, 2015

LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) - A dog that survived 25 hours trapped outside in the bitter cold after a housekeeper mistakenly released the pooch from a northern Indiana hotel room is back with her grateful owners.

Nick Hoeh and Rick Dunkle’s 3 1/2-year-old Belgian Malinois, named Sahara, was rescued Wednesday after Lafayette Animal Control officers cornered her in a backyard.

“They found our girl,” Dunkle told the Journal & Courier (https://on.jconline.com/1zWt76g ).

Hoeh said Sahara was checked out by a veterinarian, but that she was basically just “really tired and really cold” after her daylong ordeal exposed her to temperatures that approached zero degrees.

Sahara slipped out of her owners’ Lafayette hotel room Tuesday afternoon when a housekeeper arrived and mistakenly released Sahara.

The following day was a nightmare for Hoeh and Dunkle, said the couple, who’d just moved from California on Saturday. They had to leave their new home for a hotel room after a burst water pipe caused about $75,000 in damage.

After Sahara escaped and word of her plight spread, Lost and Found Pets of Great Lafayette jumped into action and helped create “missing dog” fliers and alerted the community, group volunteer Jennifer Smith said.

As night - and the temperatures - fell Tuesday night, Hoeh and Dunkle frantically searched for their missing dog, who’d been saved from an abusive home.

The pooch was sighted several times near area restaurants and a furniture store, but each time she ran from would-be rescuers. Animal control officers finally cornered Sahara and called the couple, who lured her into their car with one of their two other dogs, a Chihuahua named Dash.

“We got to the backyard and showed her her Chihuahua best friend and she came running out,” Dunkle said.

Minutes after her reunion, Sahara was curled up at Dunkle’s feet in the front seat. Hoeh and Dunkle said they’re thankful to Lost and Found Pets for helping save Sahara.

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Information from: Journal and Courier, https://www.jconline.com


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