DOYLESTOWN, Ohio — With the help from a man with a drone and a group of brave firefighters, a beloved dog, who went missing for several days, was reunited with his Doylestown family after a harrowing rescue on an icy, cold swamp.
Firefighters from the Chippewa Township Fire Department spent Sunday afternoon trying to corral Mox, who went missing from his family’s home just after dinner on Valentine’s Day.
In the hours after he went missing and up until his rescue, Beth Horsfall, her two young daughters and her husband repeatedly went outside calling his name, hoping he would come back to their loving refuge.
But as the hours went on and into the following days up until his rescue, the thought that he may never come back became a reality.
“The day after he went missing was his first birthday, so my kids woke up to their dog missing on his birthday,” Horsfall said.
Support from the community flooded Horsfall’s newsfeed after she put a post on Facebook and at the local police department asking if anyone saw her dog.
On Sunday, the call she had been waiting for was from a neighbor who spotted Mox near a swamp and railroad tracks that are adjacent to the family’s four-acre property.
Without a jacket or socks, Horsfall raced to the edge where the railroad tracks and the swamp meet, hoping for any sign of Mox.
“By the time I got to the area, I couldn’t see him. I called for him and he popped out from behind the brush for a moment and I could tell he was incredibly scared,” she says, realizing it was time to call the fire department for help.
While the firefighters on scene geared up in their bright orange rescue suits, Cliff Franks, from Buckeye Drone, used his drone to spot Mox and find out if he was okay while firefighters prepared for the rescue.
“We used live video to locate Mox, which the firefighters used a beacon to facilitate her rescue, Franks said. It gives you a peace of mind knowing the dog was okay while firefighters suited up.”
In bright orange ice rescue suits, firefighters journeyed out on the icy, cold waters of a swamp, while Horsfall anxiously stood in the distance.
Using a boat and rope, two firefighters, crawling on their hands and knees, tried to get Mox to come to them with no avail.
“I could tell he was scared. Every time the firefighters would come close to him, he would run," Horsfall said.
Reunited at last
But eventually Mox did come to them after a nearly five-hour rescue mission by the brave men in orange.
"I can't thank [the firefighters] enough. They were so brave. So incredible. So determined. I thought there was no chance in getting him to safety," Horsfall says.
Franks, who helps local police and fire department with search missions involving pets and people, said this had a happy ending.
"It's one of the best feelings in the world. It was a great team effort and use of a drone to help reunite this dog with his owners," he said.
Franks said as of Monday, they got infrared red technology the day after the rescue, so they can better help law enforcement and first responders track down a subject or a pet when the foliage is dense.
If there was one takeaway from this scary and challenging experience, Horsfall said the community comes together in trying times.
"As I was standing from the distance watching the firefighters try to rescue Mox, I asked God to help out in this situation and he used this scenario to show me he cares," Horsfall said. "During this time of vulnerability, the memory of losing my mom and now seeing my kids lose something, brought back a flood of emotions."
She said seeing people come together—from the firefighters to the drone operator to everyone who shared her post—is truly remarkable.
Mox is now reunited with his family and at the time of this interview on Monday, he was on his way to the vet for a check up for some leg injuries he sustained during the rescue.