CONWAY — All’s well that ends well when it comes to bringing a lost dog back to its Jackson owners after two nights in the frigid cold at North Conway’s town-owned Whitaker Woods.
A 2-year-old hound dog-pit bull mix named Jackson was reunited at 9 a.m. Monday with Lynda O’Connell, who co-owns the dog with her husband, Tim O’Connell.
“I cannot fully express our gratitude to this incredible valley for everyone who came out to help,” she said, noting that hundreds of volunteers combed the woods, including some who used headlamps, to search for the dog.
“We only live here on weekends, yet people came out like this, people whom we don’t even know. This is one incredible valley,” Lynda added.
Jackson had been missing since he had taken off into the woods apparently on search of a scent while being walked along the Powerline Trail in Whitaker Woods by a friend at about 10:15 a.m. Saturday, a day that seemed to get colder as it progressed with gusty winds.
Based on Facebook accounts of sightings, he roamed a 3- or 4-mile radius north to the Stonehurst Manor, Delaney’s Hole-in-the-Wall Restaurant (where he was seen by a plow driver) and along the North-South Road.
Heidi Shellmer and staff at the Stonehurst put out left-over prime rib Saturday night to help tide him over after they had seen him in the cold.
Another person who lives in Crown Ridge called Lynda’s friend to say that she and her son thought that Jackson must be taking shelter under their porch because their dog “was going nuts” during the extremely cold temperatures Saturday night indicating that another animal was present.
Lynda and Tim along with daughter Kristen Watson drove there Sunday morning but just missed him.
The searches continued Sunday with Tim’s friend Lt. Mark Decroteau from the Melrose Police Department coming with his service dog, Logan, along with Brian and Kathy Ahearn of Four Your Paws Only and members of their staff and also lending and setting Havahart Traps. Linda Boyer of the Eagle Mountain House also lent full-day support, according to Lynda O’Connell.
Overall, up to 150 people got involved.
Lynda said that Jackson had lost his orange fleece vest in the woods during his two-day escapade.
After a brief sighting on Old Bartlett Road and Kearsarge Brook, he was located Monday morning by Kristen and a friend in Whitaker Woods.
“About 10 of us walked into Whitaker Woods to search Monday with our dogs because he had been seen playing with dogs on Sunday,” said Kristen.
“I brought my dog, Neely up because they are close — we call them brothers. So, I called out to him saying ‘Look who’s here, Jackson — your brother!’ and he came right over. I bear-hugged him and held him and called out to our friend Lori Emery, who came over with a leash. We ran the mile back to the Whitaker Homesite, where he was reunited with my mother.”
Lynda said Jackson was taken to True North Veterinary Clinic in Bartlett to be examined. “He had some rashes on his underbelly and paws but was otherwise just tired,” said Lynda.