6 min read

Senior Dog Survives For 2 Weeks Alone In The Snow

“It was such a sense of relief — we were laughing, crying, high-fiving. It was a miracle.”

Azure Davis had lost all hope that Old Lady would be found alive.

It had been 17 days since the 10-year-old Saint Bernard disappeared into the Minnesota wilderness, and she didn’t even have a thick double coat to protect her from the freezing temperatures.

Davis, the founder of Ruff Start Rescue, hadn’t known Old Lady for long, but she hoped against hope that the timid senior dog was tougher than she looked.

Saint Bernard named Old Lady arrives at animal rescue
Ruff Start Rescue

Old Lady was one of 400 dogs rescued from a local puppy mill in early January. Staffers with Ruff Start Rescue placed her with a foster. But before the dog could even set foot inside her temporary home, things took a turn for the worse.

“The foster picked Old Lady up and brought her to her home,” Davis told The Dodo. “As soon as the foster got her out of the car on her leash, Old Lady got spooked from the crunching ice sound and took off dragging the foster with her partway down the icy driveway.”

An icy road in Zimmerman, Minnesota
Ruff Start Rescue

Davis worked with The Retrievers, a volunteer team that helps find lost dogs, to bring Old Lady home. While search parties came back empty-handed, a few possible sightings encouraged the team to keep looking.

Days passed and it seemed nothing could lure the fearful dog out of hiding. “This is one strong and quick dog,” Davis wrote on Facebook, “especially for her senior age.”

As temperatures dropped to negative 10 degrees, Davis’ hope dwindled.

Then, on Monday, Davis received the call she had been praying for.

Senior Saint Bernard found in Minnesota woods
Ruff Start Rescue

A man and his two grandsons had spotted the dog tied up in the woods. The leash Old Lady had been dragging for over two weeks had finally come in handy.

“A branch got stuck to her leash and then, between the leash and branch, she got herself wound up in the trees and stuck,” Davis wrote. “Thank goodness! It's the only way we would have gotten her.”

Davis and her partner Julie Lessard approached Old Lady with caution and were able to slip a lead around the shivering dog before cutting her free from the tree.

They couldn't believe their search was over.

Lost senior dog saved from snow
Ruff Start Rescue

“As soon as we got her into my car and shut the door, I could breathe,” Davis said. “It was over. She was safe. It was such a sense of relief — we were laughing, crying, high-fiving. It was a miracle.”

Ruff Start Rescue

“I think her willpower to live stems from living in a barn her entire 10 years of her life and having to be strong,” Davis continued.

After her big adventure in the wilderness, it seems Old Lady is finally ready to settle down and accept a little human kindness. “One of the women who helped search for Old Lady ... actually fell in love with her while searching for her from her photo,” Davis said. “She has Saint Bernard experience and she has a lot of shy/timid dog experience so it was a perfect match.”

Puppy Mill Saint Bernard "Old Lady" meets her adopter
Ruff Start Rescue

Old Lady met her adopter on Wednesday, and it seemed to be love at first sight. But her new mom isn’t taking any chances — Old Lady left the rescue with two leashes, one slip lead, a harness and a collar.

To help other homeless dogs in need, you can make a donation to Ruff Start Rescue here.