On September 27th, Sam and Linda Davis of Harlingen were driving on I-55 through Eastern Arkansas with their two Scottish terriers, Ella Mae and Doogie, when they had a tire blowout. Veering off the road, the couple landed in a ditch, which blew out the back window and caused the airbags to deploy. Ella Mae was killed in the crash, and Doogie ran away while the Davises were taken to the hospital. Upon discharge, a neighbor from their RV park in the Valley drove to take them home—but without Doogie.
Still, this is a story with a happy ending: Doogie’s rescue became a cause célèbre in Northeastern Arkansas. With the help of an honest-to-goodness pet detective and a lot of community support, thousands became invested in the hunt for Doogie. According to McAllen’s The Monitor:
[T]hrough social media, an extensive search began to locate the fluffy four-footed accident survivor.
“Thousands of people from all over the United States and some in Australia aided in the search for Doogie,” Linda Davis said.
A fundraiser was held for Doogie that raised $25,000 [Editor’s note: poking around Facebook suggests this number might be more like $2,500] that paid for a pet detective who retraced Doogie’s steps from the accident scene.
That detective, Karyn TarQwyn, utilized search dogs to track Doogie’s location. With the leadership of Suzie Brooks of the Blytheville, Arkansas Humane Society, 5,000 postcards were sent out in the neighborhood; countless signs were made; a Facebook page was created that quickly reached nearly 2,000 members (roughly 13% of the population of Blytheville).
Still, over the following weeks, the hunt for Doogie increasingly seemed like a lost cause. An October 16th post from the Finding Doogie Facebook page by the administrator, a woman named Lala King, didn’t exactly fill people with hope for a dog that had been missing, at that point, for nearly three weeks:
**WED 3 PM – Search Update..
The search today has ended with no sight of Doogie. But, WE ARE NOT GIVING UP!!! We believe he is alive and on the move. Now we must refocus our efforts and start new awareness campaign in a different area.
The fundraiser will continue and I will continue to BEG for more money for as long as there is hope to get Doogie home to his mom and dad. Please help in any way you can….
TarQwyn was able to verify that Doogie was still alive, though, as her dogs were able to find his scent. And the “Finding Doogie” crew kept looking. Finally, on Saturday the 19th, Doogie was found by Becton and Ross Bell, brothers who live near the accident scene. According to a post from King on the Facebook page:
When Ross spotted the little white dog, Doogie was running across the field. Ross alerted Becton who then drove across the field to cut him off. Becton called his name and Doogie went running towards him but then skidded to a halt and retreated to safety under the truck. The brothers were having none of that. For fifteen minutes they called and coaxed him out from under the truck. Lying on the ground trying to soothe the terrified puppy. It finally worked. When Suzie arrived, Doogie was in the truck, dirty, tired and hungry. But safe and alive. We had our Doogie back.
The dog was flown to San Antonio the following morning, where the Davises retrieved him.
Meanwhile, in Arkansas, Doogie is still a celebrity. The Blytheville Humane Society, who received a $1,000 donation from the Davises (after the Bell Brothers declined the money), will be selling “Team Doogie” t-shirts. A 5th grade class held a “Welcome Home, Doogie” celebration.
In all, it’s a pretty remarkable story—the dog was lost for almost a month, and the fact that he survived at all is impressive. That so many people in the area, who had no connection to the Davises, rallied to find the dog (and helped us learn that pet detectives are a real thing that actually exist) and succeeded is a nice twist in a world full of bummers.