It Took a Village to Save Mia, But The Village Did It!
It was an unusually cold Thursday night in Mississippi when we were tagged in a post on social media at about 8:30 p.m. concerning a dog named Mia, who had slipped out of a lead when her new adopted family stopped at a store near I-55 in Winona.
Mia was a breeder dog who at 7-years-old was being retired. Her guardian felt the right thing to do for Mia would be to place her with a family who would give her lots of one-on-one attention and love. She found a home, but things went terribly wrong when she escaped.
She was now traumatized and terrified, running loose near a very busy highway. When the adoptive family was unable to catch her, after a period of time, they left and headed to their home in another state.
Knowing the area was a high-traffic area, two of our employees made plans to meet on-site and attempted to catch the poor dog. A post shared on social media asked local people to keep an eye out for Mia but not to chase her. Before we arrived a call from a woman who saw Mia let us know where to begin our search. Our team walked, called, and searched for Mia to no avail. Afraid we would cause Mia to run into the busy highway, we made the decision to stop the search and return the next morning. We had one more sighting of Mia that night but, terrified, she ran and we did not see her again.
Friday morning our Hope Animal Sanctuary’s operations director Sharon Stone and some animal caregivers returned. Stone called Vidal Anderson, an animal control officer with the city of Winona, and requested his assistance. He immediately came and brought a trap along, but after searching for a couple of hours, we did not see Mia. We were about to move to a different location when we spotted her running down the side of the highway. We all held our breath as she made her way down the hill with cars zooming past her. We made no move to approach her, knowing she would bolt. She ran down the driveway of a business as if she had a plan and knew where she was going. Suddenly, the owner of the business spotted her and approached her. She ran as fast as she could along a concrete drainage ditch. She made her way to the house next door. Anderson was close by and he drove into the driveway of the house, but Mia ran to a wooded area behind the house.
After talking to residents of the area who had been watching her, we made the decision to set traps. One was placed behind the house where she ran into the woods and the other near the business where we first saw her. We left the area to let Mia settle down and hopefully go into one of the traps.
Around noon her new guardian called Stone to say she was in Winona but did not know where to search for Mia. She had driven over two hours to get to Mia. Stone immediately met her on site and they began searching with the guardian calling and calling. Three hours later they still had no sighting of Mia. Although we felt sure that she was bedded down somewhere, we had no idea where she could have been. It was dusk, with dark quickly approaching, and the danger of being on the edge of the highway increased quickly. We decided to stop the search and return Saturday morning and start again.
On a whim, Mia’s guardian decided to make one more pass driving in the area. Incredibly, she saw Mia, pulled onto the shoulder, and began to approach her. Mia, confused and terrified, ran into a culvert that ran under both lanes of traffic to the other side of the highway. Mia came out of the culvert, ran up the bank, and into the median. Between the guardian and Anderson, they were able to slow Mia down which gave her time to recognize her guardian. Once she realized she knew her, it was all over. She kissed her guardian and was happy to leave.
Her guardian says that Mia will live the rest of her life with them at their farm, which we’re sure Mia is very happy about.
The entire town of Winona came together to track Mia’s movements and offered to help in any way they could. We can never thank them enough and we’re sure if Mia could talk she would say the same. We always say “It takes a village” and in this case, the village came together to save Mia. We’re so happy we could help get her safely home.
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