The mountain forests were the ideal place Jason and his family to take a vacation. But, despite the serene surroundings, he knew it wasn’t entirely safe.
So, when their dog Shelby got spooked and ran off, he knew he had to save her. After all, she was the one who had saved him first.
Jason Scott and his wife were both EMTs in Santa Clarita. It was a job that brought both joy and sadness, but their desire to help people overcame all obstacles.
It was as good a life as anyone could hope for … until one call brought Jason face-to-face with his worst nightmare.
One of his friends lay on the ground before him, slipping away. Jason and his partner rushed to save him.
It was a frantic chain of trying every medical option possible – anything to keep him alive and to the hospital. But, in the end, it wasn’t enough. He watched his friend pass in his arms.
Even though they did everything they could, he felt a world of guilt crush down on his chest.
He spiraled down into a deep depression – blaming himself for everything. With his family at his side, there was just enough left to make one reach for salvation.
Therapy didn’t work, talking about it was beyond painful, and other avenues brought no comfort.
This is when they had the idea of an emotional support dog. There was only one rule. They had to wait for the perfect fit. It was one stubby pup that caught their attention and their hearts. “Shelby” became part of the family.
She went everywhere with them. This included family vacations. One excursion to the Sierra Mountains would end up one they regretted.
They had barely set up camp when something in the woods made the dog bolt for cover. Even though she was well trained, she didn’t reappear when they called her.
Jason felt the pressure in his chest return. There were bears and other dangerous animals that called the area home.
It was a frantic search until dark. They were forced to return home, but he wasn’t ready to give up. He called “A Way Home For Animals” and the founder agreed to help.
Babs Fry took the reins. She organized searches, posters, and even dog traps with food.
Everyone in the area knew exactly what to do if they spotted the dog. But as days turned into weeks, even she started to worry. Jason sat by the phone, waiting for terrible news.
Babs looked into every call. The family check the weather reports and cried when it got too cold.
Every failed lead took its toll on the ones that loved Shelby most. In the back of their minds, they thought, “There’s hope, but then there is reality.” The dark, expansive woods probably wouldn’t be kind.
It had been nearly a month, and Babs responded to yet another call.
Her boots crunched against the pine needles as she neared the trap. Something was in it. Something small, stumpy, and dirty. There was Shelby. The Scott family cried with happiness when they got the call. But the story didn’t end there.
The day of their reunion was something out of Lassie movie. The pup cowered behind Babs, hunched and unsure of what was going on.
The Scott family stood at the other end of the room, staying perfectly still. Jason’s EMT friends had joined the group and quietly sat off to the side.
Shelby took one step forward and sniffed the air. Something was familiar.
With ears flopped back and tail tucked between her legs, she crept forward. The first sniff was to an already crying mom. All it took was one hug and the little nub of a tail started to wag. But then she got to Jason.
She jumped up onto her human father with contagious excitement. It was nothing but cuddles and dog kisses.
Jason felt his heart melt and the tears come. He was relieved when he had got the call but now it was real. The EMT friends got a quick sniff and nudge before she ran back into Jason’s arms.
Shelby rolled onto her back and nuzzled into him, like a little fur baby.
There she stayed, happily taking every scratch, rub, hug, and kiss from her family. “Shelby you sat by my side and laid in my lap until I could stand on my own. I saved you once and we will save you again my Shoobertson.”
In the end, Jason kept his promise with the help of so many selfless people that understand the deep bond we can have with animals.
Anyone with the time or money, look into how you can help your local animal charities. You could be part of a special reunion.