A downstate Michigan couple has been reunited with their lost dog after a couple in Charlevoix found him hiding under their RV. The dog had been missing for nearly four months.
The owners of Jinks, a 3-year-old Australian shepherd, had been searching for him after he went missing during a camping trip they took in Presque Isle County in July. He was discovered last week by Charlevoix pastor duo Susan and Randy Hitts over 80 miles from where the dog originally went missing in the Ocqueoc Falls State Forest Campground.
“This dog was like in shock,” said Randy Hitts. ” I could see there were tags on him and I immediately called the number.”
The dog’s owners, Don and Kim Carpus, were astonished when they received the phone call from Charlevoix. Over the past several months, they had posted messages on Facebook, taken out ads on local radio stations and posted flyers in local stores — all to no avail. The Carpus’ also said they were in disbelief to hear that, aside from losing a little weight and having a lot of matted fur, Jinks was relatively unharmed when he was found.
“The dog had probably covered hundreds of miles through the wilderness and wound up lying under my RV,” said Randy. “He had the incredible luck to be alive.”
Jinks’ mom, Kim Carpus, had stayed in the Ocqueoc campground for three weeks after he was lost in July waiting for him, but she ultimately had to return to Milan, Michigan.
After returning home, she said she drove herself crazy every single day going on lost dog social media sites and calling animal control and humane societies looking for Jinks.
There was not a single sighting of him reported over the entire time he was missing, until the Hitts family found him in Charlevoix last week.
As a purebred, microchipped, collared dog, Randy Hitts conjectured “That dog had probably been living in the wilderness without any human contact for literally four months.”
“When we found him he was in total shock,” said Randy.
Randy is the pastor for DrawBridge Life Church in Charlevoix and his wife, Susan Hitts, is the reverend for the United Methodist Church in Harbor Springs.
Because of Jinks’ tags, the Hitts family was able to contact the Carpus’ and meet them in Pinconning to return him.
Susan Hitts said when she first put Jinks in the car to take him home, she kept thinking of her dog — 10-year-old Fritz who is a “special member of their family” — and “what she would hope someone would do if he were lost.”
She said, “I thought, with tears in my eyes, ‘If this were my dog, what would I do?'”
“We are both pastors and, quite frequently, we fall short of the edict to ‘love your neighbors as yourselves’ but that day I thought whatever I would want done for my dog I would want to do for this little guy,” Susan added.
The story of Jink’s journey has touched the heart of many during the start of the holiday season. After Randy Hitts posted the story on Facebook he said it was shared over 1000 times with responses coming from all over the United States as well as the United Kingdom, Netherlands, Germany, France, Belgium, Ireland, Austria, Romania, Canada and South Africa.
A dog found safely after this amount of time is unusual, according to Jessica Evans, marketing and communications coordinator for the Little Traverse Bay Humane Society.
“This story is remarkable,” said Evans.
Evans added that the best way to keep your dog safe is to microchip them.
Even though Jinks was thankfully unharmed during his adventure, Don Carpus said “he smelled like a barnyard” when they gave him that first welcome home hug.