Hazel (Credit: Jennifer Janiga - Used with permission)

Missing Michigan Dog Turns Up Months Later, 37 Miles Away

June 11, 2019 - 1:08 pm

TRAVERSE CITY (WWJ) - Hazel had quite the adventure.

A 4-year-old Bernese Mountain dog is back with her family in Traverse City after wandering away from home back in March.

"I was frantically looking for her everywhere," said Hazel's owner, Jennifer Janiga. "Went through woods and knocking on doors and social media, and everything I could possibly think of. Vets offices, and I would hand out flyers. It was a long road."

Janiga never gave up hope, she said, riding around with food, treats and a leash in her car. Around two months when by before she got word that a woman had found Hazel 37 miles away near Empire, in Leelanau County.

How did it feel to get the call?

"Oh my gosh! Ecstatic, ecstatic. Just, I cannot believe it...It's amazing," she told WWJ's Beth Fisher. "We're so happy as a family to have her back. I can now breathe; I can now breathe."

Janiga said Hazel jumped into her husband's arms and knew that she was home.

The pooch had lost a whopping 37 pounds, and had clearly been through a lot.

"She gave her a bath; she said she was in really rough shape," Janiga said. "She had, you know, just looked like she'd been in the wild for so long she was full of, infested with ticks, and skunked. I think she's probably been skunked a couple of times. And she had some bite wounds on her, probably from fending off animals."

Hazel is being treated for ticks parasites and injuries, but is expected to be OK. 

Janiga credits the fact that Hazel was microchipped for her return.