Onslow County-based dog rescue helps end 9-week search for service dog

Onslow based dog group helps end a nine-week search for a service dog
Published: Aug. 9, 2022 at 5:53 PM EDT
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JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - Animal rescue efforts that started in Eastern Carolina have expanded across the country.

You Will Be Found (Lost Dogs) rescue initiative, based in Onslow County, helped coordinate a dog rescue all the way in West Virginia.

The rescue group has been in operation for three years, according to founder Donna Bourget, of Jacksonville.

“Now I’m at 310 reunited dogs,” Bourget says. She says she has built a network of administrators spanning all the way to California.

With most of her dog rescues happening all over the country, Bourget says she usually doesn’t meet the dogs, their owners, or even her team members from out of state.

However, because of how special one rescue story was, Bridget Spangler of Colorado and her seizure alert service dog Heidi made a stop in Onslow County before they headed back west.

Spangler and Heidi were involved in a car crash in Pennsylvania after making a trip to visit Spangler’s fiancé. After the crash, Spangler said Heidi ran from the scene, sending her and Wild Angels Canine Rescue and You Will Be Found (Lost Dogs) Administrator Charli Mountcastle on a nine-week-long search.

“We’d be out doing flyers like 6-8 hours a day and just out driving roads,” Spangler said.

“But it was like 25 miles away from where we were looking for her. There’s no way we would have found her without the hand of God. I’ll guarantee you that,” Mountcastle added.

Teamwork found Heidi in West Virginia in July. Then—a few weeks later— the circumstance gave the owner, dog, founder, and Pennsylvania administrator a chance to come face to face.

“It was too big of a case for these guys not to meet,” Spangler laughed.

“I kept telling her: we’re gonna meet,” Mountcastle said.

Bourget says it was amazing to meet in person.

“...because when you call on somebody and you just leave your family behind to go save a dog like we do, that’s an amazing thing,” Bourget said.

Heidi is still in her recovery stages after contracting Lyme disease and suffering injuries to her neck and front leg while lost.

Spangler says with more treatment, Heidi will be able to return to Colorado to help her out as her seizure alert support dog.

You Will Be Found (Lost Dogs) has helped find lost dogs across Eastern Carolina, including recent rescues in areas like Emerald Isle, Hubert, and New Bern.

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