A Pennsylvania family couldn't believe their eyes when their little white dog disappeared from their yard.
Felipe Rodriguez was at his sister's house in Bowmanstown near Philadelphia watching her dog, Zoey, when an eagle swooped low to the ground and carried the eight-pound Bichon Frise high into the air. With only a few flaps of its massive wings, the hungry raptor and little dog disappeared over the trees.
Visiting from Chicago, Rodriguez told the Associated Press that the scene was like something out of the "Wizard of Oz." His sister knew the proximity of her house to the Lehigh River meant sharing her property with scores of wildlife. She suspected hungry raptors liked to come in from the river and prey on the rabbits that lived under the shed, but she had no idea they were a threat to the family dog.
Large birds like eagles and falcons carrying away small dogs and cats isn't common enough to be a regular occurrence, but it does happen. When food sources are scarce in harsh winter months, they travel past their normal hunting grounds in search of anything that looks like a meal.
It took a few moments for Rodriguez to register what happened, but he jumped into the car in hopes of finding Zoey. He drove through the neighborhood looking both in the air and on the ground. He drove for miles, but he assumed the dog was gone for good. His sister, Monica Newhard, was devastated. She and her husband started searching in the woods expecting to find their dog's body. They posted Zoey's picture in a public Facebook post in case someone else found her, and then there was nothing to do but wait.
The waiting game didn't last long, however, because a few hours after the incident, Newhard received an unexpected phone call. The woman on the other side of the line said,
"It's a miracle! I have your dog!"
Christina Hartman was driving along a snow-covered backroad about four miles from Newhard's place when she saw a sad-looking furry white lump of a dog on the side of the road. She went over to investigate, and she found an eight-pound Bichon Frise covered in icicles. The dog had small wounds on the back of its neck and seemed to walk with a limp.
Hartman immediately took the little frozen dog home, wrapped her in a blanket, and fed her two bowls of chicken and rice soup. Once the immediate threat of freezing to death was taken care of, she went through the process of figuring out where the little dog came from. There was no collar, but it seemed obvious the dog belonged to a loving family. When she got on Facebook and saw the post about Zoey, all the pieces of the puzzle clicked together.
Zoey is now safe at home and being kept safely inside away from prying eagle eyes. She's bruised and injured with a few patches of missing fur, but the family is shocked she's still alive. They're grateful to have their dog back and hope their story serves as a warning for other small pet owners.
Did you know dogs could be picked up by eagles? Let us know in the comments.
WATCH NOW: Everything You Need to Know About Poodles
Love reading about pets?
Don't miss a story! Sign up for daily stories delivered to your inbox.