Mila the Beagle returns home after 13-day adventure
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- A whole community helped get a rescue beagle back to her home with a Virginia state senator.
"She's our wonder dog, she's been through a lot in her life, and we're just so happy to have her home," said Siobhan Deeds.
On April 4, state Senator Creigh Deeds went to Dunlora in Albemarle County for an event with supporters ahead of his June 20 primary election, and he never expected what would happen next.
His two-year-old rescue beagle, Mila, was left on a leash with a campaign volunteer when the 15-pound dog wiggled out of her harness and bolted.
"Ran across Rio Road, into a big field, and she spent 13 days basically running trails," said Creigh.
Mila is not just any beagle. She was one of the nearly 4,000 beagles released for adoption after the Envigo breeding facility in Cumberland County was forced to close due to animal rights violations. Mila was adopted from the Richmond SPCA when she was just one year old, after living her first year under horrifying conditions at that facility.
"She's just one of the sweetest dogs I've ever known. I'm like totally in love with her," Siobhan said. "In a world where there's not much happiness happening right now, this is our happiness."
So when she disappeared so suddenly, Creigh and Shiobhan were devastated.
What gave them hope was how many people came to help them in their time of need, whether it was helping in setting up trail cams, searching the neighborhoods, or sending texts with possible spottings or words of encouragement.
"It was unbelievable. People we didn't know, one woman said 'you look like Creigh Deeds.' But people we didn't know and we didn't ask their political affiliation, we didn't have time for that, we were looking for our dog," Creigh said.
He dropped everything to focus on finding his beloved dog.
"For 13 days, I wasn't knocking on doors, I wasn't calling people, I wasn't campaigning, I was just preoccupied with the loss of this precious little dog," Creigh said.
And their determination paid off. After 13 days, Mila was found in Belvedere, which is not far from where she first got loose.
When Creigh got the call, he rushed over to find Mila surrounded on someone's porch as they waited for him to arrive. He quietly called Mila's name and she came right up to him.
"When she was there it was just such a relief, I called Siobhan and I just said 'Siobhan, guess who I have on my lap?' And Siobhan just broke down," Creigh said.
"...And I just screamed Mila and I started crying because it has been two weeks. I'm so grateful that she's home," Siobhan said.
Mila, which is a common Ukrainian name, showed her strength despite her small stature for nearly two weeks, alone in the woods of Albemarle County.
"She's made of sturdy stuff, she's tiny, but so strong," Siobhan said.
Mila returned home covered in ticks, exhausted, and ready for a big meal.
"She came in and the two girls, our two other dogs, sniffed her and sniffed, and she was back to normal. She jumped up on the bed, she jumped on the couch, she jumped on her bed, she was thrilled to be home, and then she slept. She was tired," Siobhan said.
After her big adventure, she is back like nothing happened.
"I aged ten years, but she went on a two-week vacation and Creigh and I kid around that we haven't even been on a vacation but I would just love to know what she did those two weeks, but we'll never know," Siobhan said.