Summit County dog found after being on the run for 11 days in the White River National Forest
Mary Frances Weir said two things were integral in the search for her missing dog, Rosie — God and the Summit County community.
During the 11 days that Rosie, a pit bull-boxer mix, went missing, the Summit County community came together to try to find her.
Weir lives near Hoosier pass in Summit County with four dogs and her daughter, Sophie Hansen. Although Rosie is the youngest of the four, Weir calls her “the mom” and Hansen calls her the “nurse.” Weir said Rosie regularly wakes the dogs up with kisses, gets everyone out the door to the bathroom and comforts the other dogs when they are sad.
“I think that’s why it was so hard to have her missing,” Hansen added. “Because the entire pack of dogs were kind of out of sorts.”
Not only were the dogs unsettled, but Weir was inconsolable. “I cried every day all day,” she said. “I just thought … How will we ever find her?”
Rosie ran away on Aug. 11, with her “shadow,” Ginger. That morning, a potential dog sitter had come over to get acquainted with Weir and her pack of dogs. During the visit, Rosie slipped out of the front door and Ginger followed.
At first, Weir didn’t worry. Rosie and Ginger tried to run away twice before, and both times, they had returned within the hour. So after three hours, Weir knew she had to take action.
On the afternoon of Aug. 11, she posted about the missing dogs on the Facebook group, One Man’s Junk. The group has almost 50,000 members and serves as a public forum for any and all things related to Summit County.
Not long after, she received a call from a stranger claiming an AirBnB visitor in Breckenridge had found what looked to be Ginger.
Sure enough, a man and his family from Vermont had found Ginger and caught her before she ran away — but they weren’t fast enough for Rosie, who ran north into the White River National Forest.
“That started the absolute — I don’t even know how to say — nightmare,” Weir said. “I’ve never felt so much stress.”
The next day, she made 250 flyers and spread them all over Summit County. In addition, with the help of Summit Lost Pet Rescue, 27 neon signs were posted in Breckenridge and Blue River.
Each day that passed, Weir became more desperate. She continued to post daily updates on One Man’s Junk hoping anything would help.
Weir was shocked at how many people reached out with prayers or let her know that they would keep an eye out for Rosie while on their hikes.
By the eighth day, things looked dire. Brandon Ciullo from Summit Lost Pet Rescue told Weir at one point that within three to five days, animals are so hungry they typically resurface.
After phoning a friend and researching how to find lost pets, Weir got connected with Blue River resident Keith Brenenstuhl, the man who eventually helped her find Rosie.
Weir remembers when she first met Keith. His wife Sandy Brenestuhl said the minute he saw the missing dog sign at the entrance of their neighborhood he began looking for Rosie and praying for Weir.
Three days later, on day 11 of Rosie’s disappearance, Keith agreed to help Weir search. They met up to search in the woods behind the AirBnB where Rosie was last seen.
Five to 10 minutes later, Weir heard Keith scream her name. But Weir couldn’t see where he was. Her eyes teared up. “He goes, ‘Come down the hill!’” she said later.
She found Keith looking up the side of a “massive” scree-field full of rocks but she still couldn’t see Rosie.
“I yelled out her nickname, Popper … and this little, bony, filthy body stands up, and all I saw were her eyes,” Weir said, choking up.
Keith and Weir safely rescued Rosie. She had lost 11 pounds in 11 days but showed no other signs of harm.
As for why she didn’t come out after five days, Weir believes Rosie — though hungry and thirsty — had gotten herself into a place so unsafe that she was too terrified to move.
Now, Rosie is safely home, and Weir said there are GPS collars on their way in the mail.
Support Local Journalism
Support Local Journalism
Readers around Glenwood Springs and Garfield County make the Post Independent’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.
Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.
Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.