Dog Ejected in Car Accident Found 2 Days Later Herding Sheep

·3 min read
red mixed breed dog running on a field in summer
red mixed breed dog running on a field in summer

Ksenia Raykova / Getty

After fleeing a car crash Sunday afternoon, Tilly, a 2-year-old border collie and heeler mix, was found safely doing what comes very naturally to him: herding sheep.

Linda Oswald and her husband were traveling to Everett, Wash., from Hayden, Idaho, on state Highway 41 when their GMC Yukon collided with another car, The Spokesman-Review reported. The crash shattered the rear window and Tilly, who was in the backseat, was launched out of the vehicle. Spooked but unharmed by the incident, Tilly ran away.

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Oswald told The Spokesman-Review that the search for Tilly began almost immediately. When a nurse came up to Oswald's car and told them to stay put, Oswald refused and began looking for her pup. Local police and a handful of strangers who witnessed the crash assisted in Tilly's search, but he was nowhere to be found. After 10 hours, the Oswald family went home without their beloved pup.

"We were sore and exhausted," Oswald told the newspaper.

Once home, Oswald posted a photo of Tilly on Facebook in hopes of bringing her pooch home. Over 3,000 people shared the post, but after days of no good news, Oswald felt hopeless.

"Every night when I'd come home I'd go, 'We're never seeing him again,'" Oswald told KHQ.

On Tuesday morning, Tyler Potter was on her family's sheep farm when she told her brother Travis that Hooey, one of their family's Australian shepherds, looked different than usual. Travis didn't think much of it until later that day, his brother Zane tried to call Hooey.

"Hooey really comes right away when you call him, and this dog put its ears back and started running off," Travis Potter told The Spokesman-Review.

When the Potters got a closer look at Hooey, they knew it wasn't their pup in the sheep chute. It was Tilly.

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The Potters recognized Tilly from the Facebook post, The Spokesman-Review reported. The crash had happened just over a mile away from their farm. Even their grandmother, who lives in California, told the family to keep an eye out for the lost pooch.

Travis Potter told the paper it looked like Tilly was trying to herd sheep.

"After generation upon generation of breeding herding dogs to have certain traits, the desire to chase and follow moving animals is ingrained," says Haylee Bergeland, CPDT-KA, CBCC-KA, RBT, and Daily Paws' pet health and behavior editor. "The desire and interest to chase after and follow a flock of moving animals is very genetic."

Oswald told The Spokesman-Review that she's sure Tilly was following his instincts.

"He'll herd anything," Oswald said. "When I go to the dog park, he tries to herd the people into one group."

Moments after Tilly was found, a Kootenai County Sheriff's Office deputy-who was also out searching for the pooch-drove by the farm. The deputy returned Tilly home safe and healthy on Tuesday.

After his eventful weekend and days of hard work, we think this pup deserves all the rest he can get.