ALEDO — How many lives does a dog have? Callie, the nearly blind dog, proved she has more than one.
Missing since Feb. 13, the 13-plus-year-old St. Bernard, springer spaniel mix was miraculously found about two miles away from her rural Aledo home.
When Jan Pearson got the call Friday morning that her dog was found — she didn’t believe it. She had told her neighbor there was no way Callie could survive the extreme low temperatures combined with snow, freezing rain and sleet.
She thought, “This isn’t going to be my dog, I’m going to be devastated all over again.”
Pearson believes it was the commotion after a kitchen fire the day before that sent the dog wandering from their home between Gilchrist and Matherville. The damage was confined to the small space and happened when they used stove burners to keep warm, like they had done many times before.
She said it could have been a lot worse.
“We didn’t really lose anything, and no one got hurt,” she said.
The following morning, people were in and out of their home, assessing the damage. Callie, let out to do her business, didn’t return when they called for her.
They left the garage door open for her, but when she still hadn’t returned by evening they knew something was wrong.
Since losing her eyesight, “She pretty much didn’t leave the driveway, that’s why I think she just got a little too far and couldn’t find the way back,” said Person.
Twenty-three days go by.
Sherrard senior Eli Trimble spotted her in a pasture while heading to school and stopped to investigate.
"I was gonna see if I could catch it.’”
He called his mom, Robin, who met him and picked up Callie. He wasn’t even late for school and had “about 30 seconds to spare.”
Trimble said it feels good to help out.
Pearson said she tried to compensate the Trimbles, but Robin wouldn’t accept it, “I didn’t even get to say thank you to (Eric), or anything. His mom passed her off. She was crying, and I was crying.”
Pearson still plans to give Eli a gas card as a thank you because "he cared enough to go get her."
Several days following her disappearance Jan’s sons and grandchildren helped search for Callie, walking the surrounding area, talking to neighbors, handing out flyers, posting in Facebook groups. The dog was chipped and has dog tags with identification.
When she picked her up from the Trimbles, she said Callie was shaky.
“She’s been on her own; she’s been out in the woods.”
Following her rescue Friday morning, she was taken to the vet for all-day observation and testing. Other than losing 15 pounds, Callie appeared to be in good health.
This spring they are planning to build an area for her outside, so she can go in and out of the garage when she wants. “She had never left that property in 13 years. … There will be some different rules now.”
Just the day before, Pearson was driving up and down rural roads looking for her remains. She reasoned that after the melting snow maybe they could find her and give her a proper burial.
“I never thought we would see her again. I really didn’t.”