A dog who went missing in a severe snowstorm in Big Bear, California, has been reunited with her family after braving the elements for 19 days. The canine, a boxer/bulldog mix named Marlee, survived the storm and the inches of snow it left behind for nearly three weeks, fending for herself before being spotted on a Ring surveillance camera, prompting a reunion with her family.
Marlee’s saga began with a car accident. Marlee’s owner, Lizbeth Berzinski, was driving with the pet when she hit a patch of black ice and crashed. Marlee panicked and jumped out of the backseat window. Berzinski ran and called after her pup — who she adopted as a puppy — but never caught up with the dog. “Immediately we jumped out the car and ran after her, calling her name just trying to get her to stop,” Berzinski told KCAL News. “I was just completely heartbroken.”
According to the outlet, this scary snowstorm crash was Marlee’s first time experiencing snow, so the dog’s family was worried she wouldn’t survive in the cold weather. Marlee’s heartsick pet parents still put up lost dog posters around town and on social media asking people to keep an eye out for the lost dog. “I didn’t think I was ever going to see her again,” Berzinski’s dad, Jim Berzinski, told the outlet.
Though some people spotted Marlee after the accident, no one could catch her. Then, she started appearing around 8:30 p.m. nightly at the same home, captured on owner Jenny Shelton’s surveillance camera. The homeowners left out food for Marlee, but the dog would run away whenever Shelton tried to grab her. Finally, almost three weeks after Marlee went missing, Shelton’s son managed to scoop up the pup and reunite her with her family. “He had steak and pork chop. And he started putting pieces out,” Shelton told the outlet of her son. “And when [Marlee] had her very last piece, he just put his arms around her and grabbed her.”
Marlee is the latest in a line of incredible survivor pups, coming on the heels of a husky in Turkey who made it out of the rubble alive 22 days after the country’s devastating earthquakes. The husky, named Alex, was found after the dog’s owner called Haytap, an animal rescue organization, after hearing the dog’s barks coming from the remains of a collapsed building.