Thomas and Tamitha Garner's amazing tale of survival captured the attention of the entire state last week.
After getting stuck in deep snow Jan. 26 in remote Modena Canyon, about 60 miles west of Cedar City and in an area with no cell-phone reception, the Garners were found alive by a road crew Feb. 6. The couple had stayed in the shelter of their truck until Feb. 4 at which time they decided to try to hike their way to safety.
But it wasn't just Tom and Tamitha who survived the week-and-a-half ordeal. By their side the entire time was their daughter Krystal's 40-pound dog, Medusa.
While the Garners were trapped in their truck, Medusa would calmly sit on Tamitha's lab, Krystal Garner said.
"She was more just confused as to what was going on," she said.
The Garners had granola bars for them and dog food for Medusa, although after a couple of days the couple began sharing Medusa's food, too.
When Madusa had to go to the bathroom, Tom would turn on the truck, heat up the car and defrost the windows so they could be rolled down. The snow by that point was up to the truck's window, Krystal said. Medusa would step through the window into the snow, do her duty, and then hop back into the truck.
The Garners adopted Medusa, a Basenji, from an animal shelter in Magna nearly a decade ago. Despite her age, the hike to safety though the canyon was like any other weekend walk for Medusa, just longer.
"She still thinks she's 1 or 2 years old," Krystal said of her energetic dog. "She loves to play in the snow. She hops around and just gets a kick out of it."
When the Garners decided to take their chances hiking, Medusa was right with them. Tom turned a pair of seat cushions into makeshift snowshoes. Tamitha followed Tom's tracks, in her tennis shoes. Medusa was also able to find enough tracks to keep up, using tracks already made in the snow by deer and coyotes, Krystal said.
At night, Medusa would curl up between Tom and Tamitha, helping everyone retain heat.
When the Garners were found, Tom and Tamitha were taken to Valley View Medical Center in Cedar City. Medusa was taken to the Cedar City Animal Shelter until the Garners were released from the hospital.
In the shelter, several of the Garners' ripped shirts were kept in the kennel with Medusa to make a bed.
Overall, Medusa came out just as well as Tom and Tamitha.
"She's real tired right now," Krystal Garner said Saturday. "She's just taking it easy, which is unusual for her. She's just drained."
The only minor injury Medusa suffered was some wind and sunburn on her nose, visible by some redness on top of her snout.
"Surprisingly she did not have frostbite," Krystal said. "I was worried about her paws. She took it well."
After being reunited with Krystal, Medusa went straight for her second love the minute she got back to her home in Kearns."She went straight for the bones. She loves her bones. The first thing she did was get the bones," she said.
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