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Lost service dog in training rescued near Conifer after missing for nearly two months

Posted at 3:41 PM, Nov 26, 2023
and last updated 2023-11-26 17:41:48-05

CONIFER, Colo. — A lost service dog in training is finally reunited with its owners after being missing for nearly two months.

Pets are family, but Nova the Bernese mountain dog wasn't going to be just a family pet. Her owner Robyn Simons-Sealy got her as a puppy to train as her service dog.

"I've had two strokes and with the ice and snow. I fall a lot," she said.

On October 1, the day before Nova's first service dog test, something really spooked her in a parking lot outside of Conifer.

"She managed to wiggle out of all of her gear and took off," said Simons-Sealy.

She said she and her husband spent a fortune on lost pet posters, hoping for the best.

"Up and down the street, every restaurant, every business, mailboxes," she remembers.

As weeks and weeks passed by, it was harder to hold out hope.

"I had finally given up, with the mountain lions and bears and everything that's out there," said Simons-Sealy.

Then, a Thanksgiving miracle on Thursday. Two hikers at Meyers Ranch Park stumbled upon Nova. She was scared and hurt.

"She fell off a cliff," said Simons-Sealy, "They fed her and she calmed down."

Thanksgiving miracle: Service dog-in-training, lost for nearly two months, reunited with owner

One hiker stayed with the dog, and the other hiked down, bringing rangers back up with them.

As crews slowly carried Nova down, one of the rangers remembered the lost pet poster from all those weeks ago. Nova was then quickly reunited with her family.

"She got the biggest grin and she was just full of energy like, 'Mom it's you! I've been looking for you," she said.

Nova is 20 pounds lighter and has severely broken one of her front legs. Her journey to become a service dog is now over.

"I won't have a service dog and I'm okay with that. But I have her, and I wouldn't give her up for anything," she said.

The leg needs to be amputated on Tuesday. Whether Nova has four legs or three, her family is just thankful that all of them are back at home where they belong.

If you're interested in helping cover the medical costs for Nova, the veterinary clinic in Conifer is taking donations on behalf of her family.

Contact Planned Pethood International and reference pet ID #135879

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