But after walking 10 miles to the edge of a local musher's dog yard, Abby the brown-and-white mixed breed was found. She's now back with her owners, a family that includes two young boys and a girl.
The dog that the Grapengeter family raised from an animal-shelter puppy went missing during a snowstorm on Dec. 13, and the family never expected to see her again.
"It's a miracle; there's no other words to describe it," said McKenzie Grapengeter, emotion choking her voice and tears coming to her eyes.
Musher and veterinarian Mark May said he came across the dog while running his team on Dec. 19, but didn't stop to pick her up.
"It ran with us for about a mile on the way home before she fell off the pace, but I had a big dog team so I couldn't grab it," he said. "I said, 'Boy I hope it finds somebody's house.' "
The next day, the dog turned up at May's house. "Everybody just assumed it was some kind of scaredy-cat, but there it was in front of the door in our dog lot and it was blind," May said. "It was sitting there, all the way from 14 miles . . . down into this neighborhood, I guess by just sniffing, so I picked it up and brought it in."
To May's surprise, the dog had no signs of frostbite. "She's no worse for wear but [had] quite an adventure," he said.
The Grapengeter family hadn't tagged or put a microchip in the dog, but the community used social media to track down Abby's owners.
"We're so, so grateful for all . . . [the community's] hard work," Grapengeter said. "They've given us the most amazing Christmas gift we could ever ask for."