By Stacey Leasca
July 23, 2019

Humans aren’t the only creatures who apparently get lost in the woods.

Last week, Kelly McDuffie of Tampa, Florida was hiking through the Shenandoah National Park with a friend when the pair happened upon Max, a pup who had been lost in the park for a full 11 days.

According to WTOP, Max, a golden retriever, went missing on the 4th of July. Due to the extreme heat in the region people feared the worst for the pup. However, he apparently knew exactly what to do by seeking shade and shelter in the forest.

Credit: Courtesy of Kelly McDuffie

In a Facebook post McDuffie explained, “I really wanted to do a waterfall hike but Danny insisted on the Stony Man hike due to its historical significance. We got a late start so about halfway through it started getting hot. I sarcastically said that if we were on a waterfall hike I could wet my bandana to cool off. About a minute later we heard water. There, out of nowhere, was a spring! We went off the trail to the spring, then Danny saw some ripe blackberries, so we went a little further to pick them. Then Danny exclaimed ‘There's a dog!’”

The pair immediately knew it was Max as park officials had posted flyers on every building and trailhead asking for assistance in locating him.

McDuffie and her friend were ecstatic to find the pup, however, somewhere along his journey Max injured his leg. The injured dog growled at the duo as they attempted to rescue him, which didn’t help McDuffie as she has a deep fear of dogs.

“But my motherly instinct kicked in and I wasn't going to leave this area without him,” she said. “After feeding him the boiled eggs, a fig bar, and lots of water he warmed up.”

Credit: Courtesy of Kelly McDuffie

Next, the duo had to figure out a way to get Max to safety with his injured leg. Thankfully, the duo found cell service nearby and were able to call for help.

“Max was a little skeptical of the rangers at first, but he trusted us to help him. They decided to load him onto a stretcher for easier transport and in case he was injured,” she added.

Credit: Courtesy of Kelly McDuffie

McDuffie added to her post that Max’s family reached out the next day to give her an update on his health.

“Max is good,” the family wrote. “His legs were fine but his back legs were weak from too much exercise. His paws are scratched up. He has a low grade fever, but other than that, he's perfect!”

The family even offered a reward for finding Max, but McDuffie said helping the dog was reward enough.