On July 15th, Kelly McDuffie and Danny Hartung went out for a hike in Shenandoah National Park, and just so happened to stumble across a lost pup.
The path that led them to the dog was completely unplanned. They originally set to trial down the waterfall hike, since it was a hot day. But as their day unfolded, their plans changed.
And as they were heading down their new, unplanned trial -- they were starting to regret their decision.
McDuffie told Good Morning America (GMA), "I had said, 'Oh, I wish we had some water to wet our bandanas to cool off,' kind of being sarcastic because I had wanted the waterfall hike."
And just a minute later, the hikers heard babbling water.
McDuffle continued, "It was surprising because there had been no water on the two miles of the hike so far." Then, they spotted a blackberry bush behind them. "Danny always loves to pick fresh berries, so we went a little further to pick the berries. And after taking a photo, and taking some berries and eating them, Danny says, 'There's a dog back here!,'" recalled McDuffle.
The hiking pair knew EXACTLY who the dog was! Max, the missing dog, whose face has been hung up all over the town, near Skyland Resort.
The two were beyond ecstatic to have found the missing pup but their rescue mission was just getting started.
Max was scared by the newcomers and growled whenever they got too close. McDuffle even told GMA, that she was actually afraid of dogs but was so excited to have found Max, that her maternal instincts kicked in.
McDuffle said, "When he finally warmed up and let us pet him, we unraveled our emergency bracelet to make a leash and put it on his collar. His collar was coming off his head because he had lost so much weight … and when we got him to his feet, he couldn't walk."
The pair got to an area that had cell service and called the park rangers for help. The rangers arrived with a stretcher, taken straight to the vet and reunited Max with his family!
The vet said Max had suffered from exhaustion but had no major injuries.
"Everything just fell into place that day...the stars aligned," McDuffie said.
They certainly did!