New Year's fireworks send Teddy running in a panic at the mountain home. A highly trained dog muzzle may have saved his life.
On New Year's Eve, Øyvind Brøgger (42) was with his family in a cabin in Norefjell.
The new addition to the family, Teddy (4 months), gets to enjoy the evening for the first time.
Matfer Broger said the dog was restless when the first fireworks went off at 6 p.m.
– I thought it was best to end the pee trip before it got worse, but I made sure to keep the leash tight, says Broger.
They stopped a couple of hundred meters above the cabin.
– Then a rocket hits above our heads. He reacted violently and shot in pure panic.
Brogger lost his grip on the leash and the dog pushed too hard.
He followed, but lost sight of the puppy. He says it was dark and a thick drift of snow blew sideways and blocked the light from the headlamp.
– After some time he disappeared without a trace. At the same time, more and more rockets were launched.
According to the owner, it will be 47 hours before they see each other again.
– Bad dream
Immediately after Teddy's disappearance, the device was set in motion. Family, friends and many people from the cabin industry participated in the search that same night, says Broger.
Just after midnight, Matfather made contact with a snowmobile driver.
He says they drove for hours on a dark winter night with no luck.
– This is the worst nightmare you can imagine as a dog owner. He's alone, a thunderbolt, he's scared, he says.
The owner says he felt both guilty feelings at this point, but was intensely focused on the work tasks he had to complete.
At the same time, he pondered the unpleasant question: How long would the dog last under such conditions?
At Norrefjell, it was five degrees below zero on January 1, and its coldest was -6.5. At the same time, the snow was half a meter deep, the report said Yr.
The search continued throughout the night. Early the next morning, reinforcements arrived.
Through the Facebook group “Rømlingen”, the family received tips on which resources to contact.
Now they gathered one by one: volunteer search teams and search dogs in three organizations: SeekDog Operative Spesialsøkhunder, Nitrogruppa and Potespor.
read more: The fireworks startled the dog out of his consciousness and concentration
Dog breeders gave hope
A large-scale search operation had to be coordinated, and the job was given to Brocker's father, Jan-Erik Johnson, 71.
– We have received a lot of calls from people who want to contribute. I took on the job of coordinating all the signatories so others could use their time to search, says Johnson.
They mapped out a large search area, and began searching cabin grounds and ski tracks at the most likely sites first, he says.
In conversations with experienced dog handlers, Broger learned something that gave him new courage.
– They said that a dog like Teddy can last longer than you think under such conditions. He says the window you have is ten days and maybe more.
Alma on the trail
One of those contacted was dog handler Annette Kelstedt (49) from Nitrogruppa.
Her three-year-old golden retriever, Alma, is certified Identification dogIdentification dogA sniffer dog tracks an individual based on a given scent. A tracking dog usually works and tracks a single type of scent — like the scent of humans, moose, deer, etc. — but doesn't look for just one person like a detection dog does. Source: Frank Laustad, president of Nitrogruppa and IT dog trainerAnd play a vital role in the rescue mission.
But on New Year's morning they were in Raje outside Kongsberg, about two hours' drive from Norrefjell, with no transport facilities.
Anyway they were sent by taxi.
– When we arrived, we immediately sat down and looked at the map with the owners, says Kelstedt.
They resumed the night search in the cabin area, he says.
– Alma didn't really show much interest there. But she was clear that he ran straight down the ski track.
The problem was the weather. They did not develop their own land.
– We waded through snow up to our thighs. And getting in is absolutely impossible.
After two rounds of searching, they were done for the day. But Alma's mother was sure the dog got a kick out of the missing heartbeat.
– The wind blew strongly from the north. In addition, there was a rise in the landscape, which meant that the scent traveled far into the valley. That evening, I knew we had to go further up the landscape the next day, says Kelstedt.
A sign of life
Then it was the second New Year's Day and almost two days of Teddy ran away in a panic.
Just as the rescue team was about to start a new search, they were outnumbered. Now they got help from several scooter drivers from Norefjell turforening.
Annette Kjellstedt and Alma were pushed into the landscape.
A dog handler says the dog's mark becomes clearer as they acquire terrain.
– We did not come further, she sat down, not wanting to go left or right.
– Then the matron called out to Teddy, and then we heard a beep.
But the strong wind made it difficult to find where the noise was coming from. They called in more personnel and intensified the search in the area.
John-Eric Johnson joined the search party in the afternoon. In the evening it became infected and took a wind, he says.
– Then we stood and consulted. It was dark and dark and we were just staring at random.
– Then there was barking, says Johnson.
After walking about 200 meters on snowshoes, they saw a reflection from a dog harness.
Bewildered Sausage Fan
Down under a tree sat a bewildered, furry creature on the bank of a river. It was two to three kilometers from the stabbing site, Johnson believes.
– He was surprisingly healthy and fast, but a little scared when we arrived – probably because of the headlights. It's actually pretty incredible, he says.
– One of the volunteers threw some pieces of sausage at him and caught the army. Then he licked her face, beyond joy and hope. He nodded yes, but I wasn't sure if he was frozen or nervous.
Matfar Brøgger was notified of the find, and Father Johnson waited by the cabin while driving with Teddy in his arms.
– It was an indescribable pleasure to see each other. “I'm so relieved he's safe — he's in incredibly good shape, all things considered,” Broger says.
Despite the many people in the cabin, it didn't take long for Teddy to warm up again.
– He ran around, greeted everyone and licked. He looked as if he had only been on a light evening walk.
Digging on waking
Broger speaks to VG two days after the discovery. After they get home from the cabin, Teddy finds himself somewhat traumatized.
– He slept a lot and is clearly tired. He wakes up and starts digging. He needs a little more closeness and protection, but otherwise he's himself again.
In recent days, the owner has thought a lot about the volunteers who came forward, he says.
– The good cooperation between the three search dogs, the scooter drivers and all the volunteers is the reason why Teddy returned home safely. I have no words for how grateful I am.
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