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      Community helps rescue dog after crash

      Scott Wilson was returning home from a weekend of snowmobiling in Copper Harbor. The resident of Shepherd, a small community near Mount Pleasant in the Lower Peninsula, was heading east on M-28 near Deerton Road when his trip was suddenly halted.

      "I drove right into a whiteout," said Scott Wilson. "Snow was really picking up. A plow came through the westbound lane. I was moving very slowly. Next thing I saw was a car ten feet in front of me. I couldn't turn, so that was when the accident happened."

      As a result of the head-on collision with one other vehicle, Gracie slid from the backseat into the front next to Wilson. Wilson left his Subaru Outback without shutting his door all the way.

      "(Gracie) ran into the woods, I chased after her, and I couldn't find her," he said. "She runs pretty quick through the woods. That's when it all started."

      One of the first responders started looking for Gracie. She organized a search crew.

      Wilson was treated at Marquette General Hospital for injuries to his ribs. He was released later on Sunday and got a room at the Ramada Inn, thinking his dog was lost forever and his car was totaled. He then got a call at his hotel, saying people were going out to look for Gracie.

      "It just kind of mushroomed from there," he said. "The story went on Facebook."

      Amber Rude of Ishpeming saw the post on the Lost & Found Paws of the U.P. Facebook page. It put her into action.

      "I was in my pajama pants and winter coat, and that was all, and I saw it, and I was like, 'I have to go out there,'" she said.

      Rude's parents live around Deerton, so she felt familiar enough with the area to join the search. She searched from 9 p.m. Until nearly 2 a.m.

      There were multiple sightings of Gracie throughout the woods and on various roads. But no one could catch her. Neighbors even put out some chicken to bait her. During the time Gracie was in the woods, temperatures dipped as low as -7 with wind chills getting down to -21.

      "These woods are a lot thicker than where we live downstate," Wilson said.

      He joined the search for a short while on Monday.

      "It wasn't a smart thing, my ribs were really sore," Wilson said.

      Gracie, a boxer, came to Wilson's home as a stray three years ago.

      Around 7:15 p.m. on Monday, Gracie walked up to Kirsten Englund's home and started scratching on a side door. Englund lives just off the highway from where the accident happened. Gracie's adventure through the woods of Deerton ended right near where it began.

      "I think she just needed food, water, and to get warm," Wilson said. "She just, at the end of the day, got tired and went up to a house. That was it, she was done."

      Gracie was taken to the Bayshore Veterinarian Hospital by Rude and her mother.

      "I met the search crew at the vet, that was around 9 p.m.," Wilson recalled. "They checked her out, and she's okay."

      Gracie had a minor cut and some banged up paw pads, but she is now resting with her owner. Wilson is now relieved and full of gratitude.

      "I want to thank everybody," Wilson said, with tears filling his eyes. "If it wasn't for you guys, I wouldn't have her back. I want everybody to know that I appreciate everyone's efforts. When I first saw her go, I thought, 'I'll never see her again.' I really thought that."