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Retired K-9 found weeks after deadly crash in northern Arizona

Posted at 9:26 PM, Feb 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-01 23:26:26-05

After weeks of searching amid freezing temperatures in the woods between Heber-Overgaard and Holbrook, a retired police K-9 reported missing after a deadly crash has been found.

Nushka got "spooked" and ran away after her owner's vehicle crashed on State Route 377 just outside of the Heber-Overgaard area on Jan.11. Sadly, her owner passed away in that single-vehicle crash.

The Belgian Malinois' family spent days looking for her in the area after the crash, but finally gave up and returned home to Arkansas. Local volunteers with the Humane Animal Rescue and Trapping Team, also known as HARTT, kept up the search on behalf of the family.

After getting a tip of a dog matching Nushka's description, volunteers decided to set up a food station and trail camera in the area of the potential sighting.

HARTT president Cheryl Naumann said they faced many challenges. Snow and icy cold temperatures were among them. Despite the trail camera icing over, they were able to capture an image of Nushka coming to the food station to eat and drink. This gave them a renewed sense of hope.

Animal rescuers had to get a trap big enough to fit a Belgian Malinois from Phoenix and set it up in the area of the sighting.

On Jan. 30, more than three weeks after she disappeared, volunteers were delighted to find Nushka resting in the trap they had set for her.

Naumann said Nushka appeared to be healthy. She is now resting at the Holbrook Animal Shelter, waiting to be reunited with her family who is now en-route from Arkansas to take her back home.

"Nushka is a part of their loved one. The whole family is just embracing just giving her a wonderful home for the rest of her life, and we are just thrilled to have been a part," said Naumann.

You can learn more about HARTT here.