"He had just found his missing dog. They sat together like this for 10 minutes." This photo of Ramón Fernández embracing his Boxer Grettel gained popularity year. When you hear the story, behind the picture be ready to grab a tissue for tears of joy!
Ramón graciously shared his story with DogHeirs.com. We have their permission to reprint it here.
According to Ramón "Nine years ago I discovered Grettel abandoned on the side of a road in Costa Rica. She was severely undernourished, more than skin and bones. At the time she was estimated to be around four years old. I brought her home with me. Nursed her back to health. Over time she became my companion, confidante and roommate. Her personality is truly remarkable – gentle and affectionate. She has transformed my life in ways I never could have imagined."
"Like Boxers Grettel is quite fearful of noises. One Sunday morning while I had to make a trip to the store I left her safely in our front yard. Unfortunately during a town celebration some loud fireworks were set off unexpectedly. Startled by the noise as my neighbor was leaving through our shared gate at that moment. Grettel ran away, from fear. Thankfully though I returned home within 30 minutes.""The search began."
"I spent the rest of that day searching, asking neighbors if they had seen her. There was one sighting in the afternoon and then nothing. Our town is a community located in the central valley of Costa Rica. I went from house to house knocking on doors. Unfortunately I had no luck finding her. To spread the word further I turned to Facebook. Shared her story. I also joined Facebook groups related to lost dogs, adoptions and dog lovers communities. My friends helped by sharing the post, which quickly went viral within Costa Rica. To reach people I printed out flyers. Distributed them myself by going door, to door – over 500 flyers in total. We even made larger ones to display in businesses. Eventually the national newspaper picked up on our story. Ran an article about it."
"For 3 4 weeks after she went missing we received calls from people claiming they had seen her ranging from 25 to 200 miles away – although it seemed unlikely unless someone had taken her. Despite this possibility being slim I followed up on every lead in case. Messages started pouring in on Facebook from around the world as we continued reposting and she gained more attention online. We received messages from countries, like Africa England France Germany Ireland Australia Canada United States as many Central and South American countries."
Every day both, in the morning and at night I would.. Walk, tirelessly searching and refusing to give up hope. The thought of her being gone forever was unbearable. Not knowing anything about her whereabouts was the part. Imagining her lost injured, vulnerable, hungry and cold was just too overwhelming to contemplate. My focus remained steadfast on finding her.
Then after four weeks since she went missing I started receiving reports that she had been sighted in a coffee plantation located outside of town. I personally visited the workers there. Requested them to keep me informed of any updates. Realizing that covering such an area would be challenging I organized a search party comprising individuals from different parts of the country who came forward to assist me. Together we meticulously combed through the plantation grounds in search of any trace. Found a few clues. Nevertheless my determination never wavered as I continued my efforts. I would carry her food bowl with me. Shake it so she could hear it from afar. Additionally I left behind my sweaty T shirts for her to catch my scent.
Concerns started arising among neighbors regarding my quest, for the dog; they deemed me eccentric or even suggested giving up since it had been an extended period or believing that if she could come back on her own accord if possible.
I told them "She's more, than a dog to me. She's my girl, my closest companion and I can't give up on her."
"On the morning of the day I didn't go out searching. I was completely exhausted. The rainy season had started. In the afternoon when it was pouring outside after work I decided not to venture out.. That evening as the rain subsided I parked my car in the garage and thought to myself 'Well since I'm already here might as well take another look.'"
" 3 kilometers away from home on a bend near the coffee plantation road there she was. My heart skipped a beat. Could it really be her or just another stray? The highway was narrow with no place to stop safely. There in the middle of the road I hit the hazard lights and stepped out of my car. She wasn't visible anymore.. Soon as I called out her name she emerged from the tall grass with that beautiful boxer head of hers.
Time stood still. Squatting beside my car in the middle of the highway calling her name seemed like an approach, than running towards her and scaring her away."I couldn't hold back my tears as she emerged from the grass her tail swaying with joy that her whole body seemed to wag along. She sprinted into my embrace and in that moment a mix of emotions overwhelmed me – crying, trembling and laughing all at once. It was a rollercoaster of feelings, unlike anything I had ever experienced before. Somehow I managed to guide her into the car and drive us home.
The day we made a visit to the veterinarian. Although she had lost 5 kilos during her time she appeared to be in good health. I try not to dwell on the hardships she might have faced while she was gone; instead I'm just grateful to have my girl by my side.. It seems like shes pretty content too.
During Grettels absence I ended up adopting another rescue Boxer named Bonn. I knew that when Grettel returned she would have a " brother" waiting for her. It turned out well – they adore each other! Moreover this experience has inspired me to get involved in animal rescue efforts in Costa Rica.
The story of Ramón and Grettel is a testament, to how online communities can help people reunite with their lost loved ones! Ramóns unwavering determination while searching for Grettel serves as a reminder never to lose hope!