Long-lost dog Whiskey found, with help from a drone
February 28, 2015
Over a month ago, Whiskey, a Chow mix rescued by Furburbia, ran off from his new owners in the Sun Peak neighborhood. He had only been with his new family four hours.
There were reports that he had been spotted near Oakley and Kamas, fueling speculation the dog may have been trying to return to the Friends of Animals Rescue Ranch in Browns Canyon.
William Powers, a Realtor with Keller Williams, has two dogs himself and had driven around the Kamas area to look for the missing dog. Wednesday, Powers unexpectedly saw the dog — and not near Kamas, but in the area he had run off from in Park City.
"I was actually coming out of a meeting at the Keller Williams building on S.R. 224 and he was standing in the parking lot," Powers said. "I recognized him right away."
"I kind of just panicked and started calling every number that I had seen with Furburbia and calling friends and trying to get people over to the area," he said.
Facebook followers of Furburbia soon received an urgent message to come out and join the search party. For the next several hours, Powers said there were at least 20 people searching for the dog.
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Susan Miller of Furburbia said "we were just scouring the area, and he’s very sneaky, so we didn’t find him right away."
Still, no one was giving up, and around 2 p.m., one of the searchers ran into a real estate aerial photographer from Draper named Adam Martinson. Martinson said he was asked if he could help out with the search with his drone.
"I said I don’t have any battery left, only enough to finish this job," Martinson said. "And she’s like ‘well here’s a flyer just in case.’"
A dog owner himself, Martinson finished his shoot, but didn’t leave.
"I felt guilty that someone would ask me for help," he said. "So I plugged my battery in for 10 minutes — that would give me at least five minutes of air time."
"I didn’t know where these people were so I kind of drove around and saw [Powers] looking over this ravine," Martinson said.
"Right when I started lifting my drone up we actually saw something," he said.
"We saw Whiskey in the field and it was just like ‘holy [crap] there he is!’ said Powers.
The dog was in very thick brush that had been difficult for humans to get through, and Martinson followed it down the ravine, in the direction of S.R. 224. Volunteers were alerted and Whiskey was intercepted at the Park City Nursery.
Martinson said he didn’t learn until afterwards how long Whiskey had been on the lam.
"The honest truth is, my daughter, 15 years old, is a dog lover, and if I would have come home and told her the story… I would have never heard the end of it," he said.
Miller has been anxious about finding Whiskey since he first ran off and was effusive in praising everyone who helped, particularly Powers. "He’s the one who started the search and never gave up."
"Being that close to him after he’d been missing so long, I really didn’t want to give up, which is why I kind of hung out there all day," Powers said.
"The community effort, everybody that got involved, was kind of awesome," he said.
Whiskey is reported to be in good shape, albeit "a little thinner," and is currently getting "lots of TLC" at the FOA Ranch, according to Miller. He’ll be staying with a staff member while he recovers from his ordeal/adventure.
Adam Martinson has uploaded a short video clip from his drone of the search for Whiskey. Watch the video imbedded below or click here.
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