ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – A big effort for a small dog. After days of searching, a 9-month-old Chihuahua is back in the laps of his owners thanks to dozens of people from all over New Mexico pitching in.
‘We were headed up to the Jemez to have a weeklong vacation in the mountains,” said James Whiton, Charlie’s owner.
But that vacation would be cut short after another driver pulled out in front of James while he was driving down Highway 550.
Shaken, but unharmed, James says everyone was safe, including little Charlie. That was until he opened the door to take a look at the damage.
“He took off like a bolt of lightning and went running down the freeway,” said James.
For seven days, little Charlie Hudson was missing in the mesa of the Santa Ana Pueblo.
From sun up to sun down, James and his wife Rose searched far and wide for the dog that they had just adopted. Charlie’s “sister” Majita even got involved in the search.
“Twelve hours a day tromping through the desert trying to find him. Had no luck at all. Not even a sighting No signs of him at all,” said James.
With little hope of finding Charlie on their own, James and Rose took to social media to post pictures of their pooch. They never expected the resounding reaction they would receive.
“I couldn’t believe people’s willingness to sacrifice their time to come out and help us,” said Rose.
Aside from the hundreds of shares their posts would get on Facebook, the couple says dozens of people offered to hang up flyers and even hit the pavement in search of little lost Charlie. James says one man even flew his drone over the desert.
Their tireless effort would eventually pay off after getting a call from a woman who claimed to have found Charlie.
“She starts describing him and I’m like ‘oh my goodness!’ Then she sent me a little two-second video of her petting him. I just immediately left and I’m calling everyone on my way out there like ‘Ah! We found him,’” said James.
James says Charlie found his way to the woman’s porch. That friendly stranger says she recognized Charlie from a community Facebook page.
Thin, weak, and weathered by the elements, Charlie somehow managed to survive a week in the desert alone. Even his vet was shocked to learn that this six-pound pooch was able to battle the wilderness.
Almost three weeks later, Charlie is back to his old self.
“Now, he’s back to his rigorous daily schedule of sleeping, barking, and eating,” said James.
James and Rose say Charlie had hip replacement surgery before they adopted him. They were worried that this adventure would re-aggravate it. But they say Charlie is walking around just fine now.
Charlie’s owners say they’ll be keeping a closer eye on the dog next time he’s in the car with them.