COTTONWOOD HEIGHTS — Family members say it was a remarkable reunion Sunday when their dog — who police believe survived being trapped in a storm drain for three weeks — was discovered and rescued.
When Susan Garr got home from work on Nov. 13 she discovered her dog was missing from the backyard.
Millie, a 2-year-old Australian shepherd, had a bad habit of jumping over their 6-foot fence, Garr said. She thought Millie had gotten out and likely was picked up by officers from Animal Control, which wouldn't be open until Monday.
"I assumed she was in doggie jail," Garr said.
But on that Monday, Garr learned none of the local animal shelters had picked up her dog. She called the Cottonwood Heights Animal Control officer assigned to her case constantly, doing everything she could to find her dog.
Three weeks went by, however, and there was no sign of Millie.
"We thought she was going to be dead," Garr said.
That changed, however, when a 15-year-old was walking home from the store near 2600 East and Ft. Union Blvd. The girl heard the dog barking and called 911.
Police and fire crews opened up the drain and the dog jumped out. Right away, animal control officers knew it was Millie.
"We really do think she had been down there three and a half weeks," Garr said. "She was dirty and very, very happy to see us. She's a tough little girl."
The Garrs live near 3000 East and 7200 South. Neither they nor police were exactly sure Monday how Millie got into the storm drain.
Millie had lost 13 pounds but is otherwise OK. Garr believes she was able to survive by drinking water in the storm drain and eating a diet of garbage and mice. Because she was six feet underground in the pipes, Millie was protected from the recent winter weather and cold temperatures.
Monday, Garr said Millie was home and "smells good again."
Garr and her husband called the young girl who found Millie and thanked her. They also noted that Millie would now be kept indoors when they weren't at home.