HELENA — You may have seen photos all across social media and you may have watched MTN’s story about Great Falls groups searching for a rescue dog near Townsend. Well, 19 days later, that dog was finally found.
These are some of the first images of Hercules after 19 days alone in the area of Shep’s Gulch, where he was found on April 30th, 2021.
“I'm just talking to myself and I stepped in this muddy stream. It sank up to my ankles,” says Theresa Froehlich. She found Hercules. “So I'm like 'Oh my gosh!' and all of a sudden I heard Hercules growl and so I looked across and there he was. I took a picture of the first time I saw him."
This rescue did not come by accident. Froehlich was involved from the beginning when she first heard of Hercules. This dog went through the local pitbull rescue where Froehlich volunteers and it was her that found Hercules’ adopter. She posted messages all across social media and gained help from animal groups in Great Falls to conduct a rescue search about a week after Hercules went missing. That attempt came up empty.
"They thought somebody picked him up. I knew that couldn't be right,” says Froehlich. “He has a collar and tag. Almost everybody is honest when they find a dog, they will call the [number on the tag] and reunite the dog with his family. That didn't happen. It was just my gut instinct he was still up there."
That gut instinct was correct. Froehlich received a message with coordinates from a local hunter stating he noticed the dog. Exactly 24 hours after that message, Froehlich found Hercules.
“I was ready to go back up there again on Saturday, if I wasn't successful on Friday. I just wasn't going to let him die on that mountain. I just knew he was up there and I was gonna do everything in my power to find him," says Froehlich.
Hercules did lose weight and was sleep deprived. Froehlich believes Hercules was able to survive for so long because of nearby water sources.
Hercules is in stable condition and now has a family home in Butte.
Froehlich is a long-time dog advocate and volunteer of a Montana pitbull rescue. Also, this isn’t her first time rescuing animals. She told MTN she has been involved in two other search rescues for animals that’s lasted 10 days or more.