When a family from North Carolina watched their dog disappear into a set of violent rapids, they thought she was gone for good.
Last month, David Kareken was camping and canoeing through northern Ontario’s Quetico Provincial Park with his wife, 15-year-old son, and seven-year-old golden retriever-border collie mix named Kali.
When the family stopped along their hike to admire Rebecca Falls, the dog slipped into the rushing water, and they lost sight of her.
“We were…just beside ourselves,” he told CBC News. “You know, it was a nightmare.”
They searched for their beloved pooch for hours, but with no luck. Certain she had drowned, they were forced to move on and leave the park without her.
They went home to Asheville, North Carolina to grieve their loss, but two weeks later, Kareken got a call that changed everything. It was park officials to say they’d found a dog matching Kali’s description.
“When we finally got the news, I just, I fell to my knees,” he told reporters. “Because I couldn’t believe it—you know, she was alive, and healthy, and okay.”
Kali was discovered on an island by a camper, who alerted park officials. The dog was picked up by boat and then flown to Atikokan, Ontario, where park officials started reaching out to contacts in the area to see if anyone had reported a missing dog.
Kareken had mentioned the incident to the forest service, a local outfitter, and a few others before they went home, and it’s a good thing he did.
“We were just ecstatic beyond words…reuniting was just extraordinary,” he said.
Shortly after getting the call, Kareken picked himself up and got in his car, driving all the way back to northern Ontario to bring Kali home. Not surprisingly, he says they’re now doting on the dog.
“For a long time we called her our ‘adventure princess,’ because she loved being out there so much, but now it really fits,” Kareken told Buzzfeed News.