SOUTH FORK — Snow was in the forecast two weeks ago in the high country and just as the pending storm was coming over the San Juan Mountains, Barbara Cowman drove up to the entrance to Big Meadows Reservoir, Forest Service Road 410 in hopes of seeing the large trap they had set the night before full of one amazing lost dog.
“She had already escaped the trap twice. She somehow had gotten in there and ate all the food and got back out without setting the trap off, so we weren’t sure if she would be in there,” said Cowman.
To her surprise and absolute delight, the adjustments 8200 Sports owner Joel Condren had made on the trap the night before paid off and the dog, later named Meadow was sound asleep on the pillows that Cowman had left inside.
For the past several months, locals and guests alike who ventured up to Big Meadows Reservoir had reported seeing a dog near the main entrance off Highway 160 leading to the reservoir. The dog had a broken leash attached to a collar, and would run and hide when someone would try to coax her to them.
“People had been seeing her for at least two months. I just don’t know how she survived. It was a miracle really,” said Cowman.
Cowman got involved after seeing a post from fellow South Fork resident Laurie Robertson who had posted about the dog on Facebook.
“I had never met Laurie before this and it wasn’t the first time, I had rescued a dog that had gotten lost or abandoned this year, but I knew I had to help,” said Cowman.
According to Robertson, she had taken her dogs up to Shaw Lake to go for a walk and that was the first time she spotted the dog. She tried to get the animal to come to her, using her dogs as a way to make her feel comfortable but it didn’t work.
“I just kept going back and I finally saw her and took some blurry pictures and posted them on Facebook, hoping someone would come forward. No one ever came out and claimed the dog but man, did the community pull together! It was a fabulous experience,” said Robertson.
From that point forward, people from all over pulled together to save the dog. Cowman and Condren worked to get a large dog trap from Conour Animal Shelter and were finally successful in trapping the dog after three days of trial and error. Miraculously, the dog, Meadow, was in good health for having been in the wilderness for so long.
“The new vet Jodi Duff has been an enormous help. When we called her, she jumped in her car and came right up. That was when I first met her. I was up at Big Meadows looking for Meadow and she came up to me and asked if I was looking for the lost dog. When I said I was, she said to bring it to her the minute we get her,” said Robertson. “She was amazing right from the start.”
Once Meadow was safe in the hands of the vet, she underwent some treatments for malnourishment and a tick born disease that she will most likely recover from. Other than those two things, Meadow is in perfect health and is looking for her forever home.
In the meantime, the community from all over the Valley and beyond has donated money to help with expenses, toys, blankets, food and more.
“I just couldn’t believe the response we got. We have hundreds of people following her story and willing to help. It has been amazing to see,” said Cowman.
Cowman and Robertson will be choosing Meadow’s next family and they will be doing so with great care. A huge furry thanks goes out to everyone who helped in some form or another to bring this fuzzy friend safely home.