Christmas story

Some years, the bad news outweighs the good, and the Christmas season doesn’t feel all that joyous. But the message of Christmas has always been about finding new hope.

The Grapengeter family of Fairbanks, Alaska, didn’t have much hope, back on Dec. 13, when their eight-year-old brown-and white mixed breed dog, Abby – raised by the family’s three young children from the time she was rescued from an animal shelter as a puppy – went missing in a snowstorm.

In Fairbanks in December, after all, nighttime temperatures can drop to 40 below zero.

Six days later, on Dec. 19, musher and veterinarian Mark May came across a stray dog while running his team, but didn’t stop to pick her up, The AP reports.

“It ran with us for about a mile on the way home before she fell off the pace, but I had a big dog team so I couldn’t grab it,” May recalls. “I said, ‘Boy, I hope it finds somebody’s house.”

The next day – after a week outside – the dog did manage to find her way to a house: Mark May’s house, 14 miles from where he’d last seen her. “So I picked it up and brought it in,” he says.

To the veterinarian’s surprise, the dog showed no signs of frostbite. “No frozen ears, no frozen toes. … She’s no worse for wear.”

“It’s a miracle; there’s no other words to describe it,” says McKenzie Grapengeter. The neighbors who used social media to help May track down Abby’s owners “have given us the most amazing Christmas gift we could ever ask for.”

Abby had to have followed May’s team those 14 miles home by scent, you see. Because Abby is blind.


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