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Family dog returns home after month-long journey in Elk woods
ELK, Wash. -- On the day of the Oregon Road Fire, the Long Family lost their home, but they also lost their family pet, as their dog ran off into the woods among the chaos of evacuation.
Since then, the community came together to make sure that Ezra made a safe return home.
And on Thursday of last week, worry turned to overwhelming joy as 8-year-old Ezra was reunited with his family after wandering the woods near Elk for 36 days.
"My wife was just crying and she was so happy, she was just crying when she saw him," said Leland Long.
Since the day Ezra got loose, dozens of community members shared their spottings online, some even setting traps, trying to bring him home as his family searched.
"We knew that he was still alive and people were calling us saying, 'oh we saw him there,' and sending us pictures that they took of him. We kept driving around looking for him but we never could find him," said Leland.
Local animal advocate Freddie B played a large hand in tracking Ezra down. Now, he's fostering him while the Longs are displaced.
"It was just the community as a whole inquiring, sharing tips, sharing spottings, and just a whole community involvement," Freddie said.
And if dogs could talk, Ezra would certainly have quite the story to tell.
"Ezra has really helped bring some emotional healing to all that's going on," B said.
The Longs are just happy he is safe.
"I'm glad the lord protected him throughout his journey," Leland said.
B says that Ezra is in good spirits and in relatively good health after his month-long journey. He says the biggest difference is that Ezra lost about 70 pounds, which was half his body weight, but he is expected to be okay.