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Dog found after 2 years: Sweet homecoming ends dog's two-year survival story

A dog missing for two years from a California family is back with her overjoyed owners. The golden retriever named “Murphy” survived for two years on her own in the California wilderness, and her story of survival and reunion make for a heartwarming read.

A Reuters news report, as carried by, explained that in 2012, Murphy was separated from her owners during a camping trip in California's Tahoe National Forest. Erin and Nathan Braun posted fliers and created a Facebook page, but they had no leads, no sightings of their family pet.

That all changed when almost two years later, a camper staying at the French Meadows Reservoir, only about five miles from where Brauns camped, spotted Murphy but could not persuade her to come over. The Brauns met up with the camper and brought some of their clothes with them, hoping that the scent might coax Murphy back.

It worked. Four days later, the camper found Murphy sleeping on the clothes left out for her!

“As you can imagine, we are completely shocked and amazed with the miracle of her surviving this long,” the Brauns wrote on Facebook. “She is on the road to recovery, very thin and frail but happy to be home with her family. Words cannot describe how grateful we are.”

Tahoe National Forest spokesman Michael Woodbridge said that it appears Murphy spent about 20 months in the wilderness, and likely survived the winter by getting handouts from campers and those who live in the area.

“It can get pretty good snowfall, that’s for sure,” Woodbridge said. “It’s not too far from wilderness. French Meadows Reservoir is a dammed-up river, so it’s developed around there. Depending on where you are on the reservoir, there are developed recreation sites and a road there.”

Other than being thin and hungry, Murphy was checked out and declared to be in good health. Erin, Nathan, and especially their three young children, are all overjoyed that Murphy is back home with them once again. A credit to keeping a collar on a dog, as well as one dog’s love for his family.

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