Touton went missing in the Canadian woods, but thanks to the overnight rescue efforts of two strangers, he was reunited with his family.
Father and son dream team Jason and Dylan Penney of King's Point, Canada, heard of a pup in need and rushed to his rescue late in the evening on April 17, 2016. The Koops family of five--including Touton the Golden Retriever--were hiking through snow in King's Point when Touton vanished.
The Koops initiated a family search for their dog, but they were unable to locate Touton. With heavy hearts, they loaded into the car and headed back to their home in Botwood, Canada. They made a pit stop first, giving their contact information to Debbie Penney, a restaurant worker at a local eatery. Ms. Penney picked up the phone and called her husband to spread the search via social media.
Instead, banking on his backwoods knowledge from years of hunting in the region, her husband, Jason, decided to take a stab at the search. The wintry forest where Touton went missing is situated between Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. Mr. Penney's son, Dylan, wanted to tag along, and so the duo set out into the snowy forest, calling out for Touton.
Mr. Penney reported that the two stepped foot into the forest around 8:30 p.m. They whistled for the dog, taking breaks in between yelling his name. An hour into combing the woods, a bark sounded. They found Touton, exhausted and suffering in the cold with a history of arthritis.
As the dog was unable to walk, the Penneys put their creative survival skills to the test, building a stretcher out of their jackets, slung together with the trunk of a tiny fir tree they sawed with a pocketknife. Touton's legs went through the arm holes of the coats, and the 108-pound canine was balanced on their shoulders.
But the stretcher only lasted for a short amount of time, and the men resorted to taking turns caring the dog on their shoulders, 400 yards at a time through the deep snow.
According to CBC Canada, Mr. Penney said, "A couple times we were gonna give up, and go out and get a sleigh and come back in and maybe bring help. But we heard coyotes once that night while we were in there, howling, and we said, 'Well, we couldn't leave him.'"
Six hours later, at about 2:30 a.m., the Penneys and Touton made it back to the parking lot. They drove back to the Penney household, where Jason immediately called Touton's mom, Jennifer Koops. There were tears all round.
Early in the morning, the Koops ventured back to King's Point, picking up Touton from the Penney's home.
Jennifer Koops was ecstatic:
"Your dog is a part of your family. and unless you're a real pet lover, you don't understand that, but Touton is a very significant part of our family."
She's right; that's something only a dog lover will understand. Yet again, the selfless, heroic efforts of strangers led to a happy ending.