MANTON, Calif. - A Manton couple is reunited with their beloved dogs after they were lost in the wilderness for six days.
Determined to find their dogs, owners Christie Achor and Rodger Bridwell never gave up hope. Just in time for the holidays, their gift came a little early.
"I feel like we have had a miracle early for Christmas, we got our girls back," said Achor.
After waiting for about a week, the owners prayers were answered.
"The saddest and most terrified time in your life to the most joy you could imagine." Said Achor.
On November 17, 2013 Achor and Bridwell's two German Shorthairs Katie and Millie wandered off behind their home into the rural terrain of Manton.
"Pretty devastated when it hit me that I might not see them again," said Bridwell.
When the dogs didn't return that night, the couple quickly jumped into action sending out more than 600 flyers and contacting more than 500 homes in their area with the Find Toto phone service.
"A minute seemed like an hour I just didn't know how I was going to get through the rest of my life not knowing what happened to these dogs," said Achor.
Six days later, they got the phone call they had been anxiously awaiting, but a little farther than expected.
"Extremely happy but shocked they had done that," said Bridwell.
The couple believes the dogs traveled more than 20 miles through the area that was devastated by the Ponderosa fire. Their dogs had to make their way through very rugged terrain and there weren't a lot of options for shelter. In addition, the dogs had to endure at least two days of heavy rain and high winds.
The dogs were found in Mineral, which is in the next county over. A man saw them on his property and called the number on the dog's tags. A happy ending to a search they say the whole community joined.
"Everyone was extremely helpful and always said we are going to get them back some people said we will pray for you," said Bridwell.
Now that the dogs are home, they don't plan on letting them out of their sight.
"I said to my friends the good news we have got the dogs back, the bad news is they are in solitary confinement for the rest of their lives," said Achor.
They hope people learn from their story, especially pet owners in rural areas. Achor and Bridwell want to remind people to tag and microchip their dogs as well as report to the local shelter if they see strays in the area.