hikers find missin dog

The ‘Stars Aligned’ To Help Two Hikers Find A Missing Dog

The ‘Stars Aligned’ To Help Two Hikers Find A Missing Dog

July 29, 2019

Two hikers believe “the stars aligned” after they accidentally stumbled upon a missing dog during a hike in Shenandoah National Park in Virginia.

Credit: Kelly McDuffie

Kelly McDuffie and Danny Hartung took a different route that day. Usually on a hot day they take a waterfall hike. But on July 15, they chose a different path that they even regretted taking about half way through.

“I had said, ‘Oh, I wish we had some water to wet our bandanas to cool off,’ kind of being sarcastic because I had wanted the waterfall hike,” McDuffie told GMA.

But a few minutes later the two heard water.

“It was surprising because there had been no water on the two miles of the hike so far,” McDuffie recalled.


On their way to the water, they spotted a blackberry bush.

“Danny always loves to pick fresh berries, so we went a little further to pick the berries. And after taking a photo, and taking some berries and eating them, Danny says, ‘There’s a dog back here!'”

hikers find missing dog Max
Credit: Kelly McDuffie

The dog was Max, the golden retriever whose flyers were hanging all over the nearby Skyland Resort.

He had been missing for 11 days.

“When he finally warmed up and let us pet him, we unraveled our emergency bracelet to make a leash and put it on his collar,” McDuffie said. “His collar was coming off his head because he had lost so much weight … and when we got him to his feet, he couldn’t walk.”

Kelly and Danny called park rangers who came and carried Max out of the woods on a stretcher.

Max was reunited with his family and taken to the vet where he was treated for exhaustion.

“It feels great to think that we saved him from another night out there and possibly a worse outcome,” said Hartung.

“Everything just fell into place that day…the stars aligned,” McDuffie said.

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