A Retriever-Shepherd Mix Was Found 4 Weeks Later and 62 Miles Away After Disappearing During Barn Fire

Another happy ending for pet parents with a missing fur baby! This one occurred in Woodford County, Illinois, four weeks after the family’s retriever-shepherd mix ran off during a barn fire on December 11. On the day the family was doing a televised interview regarding their pet’s disappearance, they were pleasantly surprised to learn that their 8-year-old dog, Ollie, had been found alive 62 miles away!

lost dog
Photo: 25 News

Family Reunion

Jim and Evelyn Zoss were standing before the cameras with a member of Animal Control when they received the good news. Discovered walking along a stretch of I-80 near Marseilles and Ottawa in LaSalle County, Ollie was a little worse for wear but alive and basically well.

“Ollie spent the last month – I can only imagine his journey through the weather and the miles,” said Woodford County Animal Control Administrator Tim Abney, who went on to call it a miracle. Ollie somehow managed to survive freezing temps and snow in Central Illinois after a massive weather system moved in that included wind chills of 35 below. Gobsmacked at their good fortune, Ollie was released from Abney’s Woodford County Animal Control vehicle to be greeted by his overwhelmed humans.

lost dog
Photo: 25 News

Pet Microchipping and Tags

“The only reason that dog is home today is because he had an animal control tag, and he was registered with the county,” Abney informed the public. This is why it’s so important to get your pets chipped and to make sure they’re wearing their tags, both county and personal. You also need to keep your contact info up to date.

While Ollie lost approximately 30 pounds and suffered damage to his paw pads and nails during his ordeal, Abney noted he was in amazing shape considering the journey he’d been on.

lost dog
Photo: 25 News

Pets and Winter Weather

Due to the family’s concern that Ollie’s remains may yet have been discovered in the barn that went up in flames, Ollie must have been sleeping in the structure when it caught fire. It would explain his disorientation and subsequent disappearance. If you have pets, make sure they have a warm, dry place to sleep during winter months and enough food to feed the caloric intake necessary to generate heat and stay comfortable.

The Zoss family stated Ollie will be getting extra care and cuddles now that he’s back home and safely in their care. He may not have made it home for Christmas, but his arrival is still the best present they could have asked for.

People, Pets & Planet

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