Seneca Krueger is a veteran foster parent, but still felt a special connection with Zelda, a 6-year-old German shepherd mix who spent 7 months in her care after being rescued from an overcrowded Texas shelter.
When she first arrived, the shelter dog was skittish, quiet, and seemed by frightened by her own shadow, so much so that she didn’t bark or wag her tail for months. But Zelda eventually came out of her shell in Krueger’s care, so much so that she could finally be adopted. The sweet girl quickly found a forever home in the nearby town of Chanhassen, about 30 miles way from Krueger’s house in St. Paul, Minnesota.
But after Zelda left, Krueger felt a strange sense of loss, even after watching dozens of former foster pets move on to new families. “Out of 30, 40 foster dogs, what happens is you love them, and then you let them go and you take the next one,” Krueger told Kare 11. “And with Zelda, I adopted her out and spent three days crying. I felt like I had lost my dog.”
Apparently, the feeling was mutual, because Zelda ran away after just 10 days in her new home. Krueger immediately joined in the search party, but couldn’t shake the feeling that Zelda was trying to make her way back to her.
This hunch led Krueger to plaster St. Paul with missing dog fliers and spend hours searching different parts of town. “Three times a week I was out for four or five hours,” she said. “The days where it was 30 below were the days I was most worried about her. I was out all day trying to find her so that she could be warm.”
Krueger’s hopes were buoyed by the dozens of people who spotted Zelda en route and posted her location on social media, so much so that she even enlisted a lost pet tracking organization, START for Dogs, to help follow-up on leads. “I never believed I wouldn’t find her,” the faithful foster mom said.
Then, finally, somebody took a picture of Zelda just a couple of blocks away from her former foster home in St. Paul. “I couldn’t sit still,” Krueger remembered. “I was just out – I would walk for an hour and come back and see if she was here, and immediately, back out for another hour.”
The dog finally wandered into the home of a local couple who started feeding the stray, which gave STRAY, the pet tracking organization, time to set a trap for the hungry dog. Next time Zelda came back for dinner, she was safely captured, allowing Krueger to finally reunite with her loyal dog. “You found me,” Kruger told Zelda, crying, when they reconnected. “I never stopped looking for you.”
Now Kruger has officially adopted Zelda, the loyal pup who traveled for 97 days (and even crossed the Mississippi river all by herself, per social media sightings) to reunite with the first person who showed her kindness. (Zelda’s original adoptive family happily relinquished custody of the dog after it became clear she preferred her foster home.)
“I think we believe we choose dogs, but I really think it’s dogs who choose us, and I think that’s what happened,” Krueger said. “When I think how much work all of us put in to find her, she was putting in so much more work to find me. It’s love.”
Find out more about this incredible story in the video below!
J. Swanson is a writer, traveler, and animal-enthusiast based in Seattle, an appropriately pet-crazed city where dog or cat ownership even outweighs the number of kids. When the weather permits, she likes to get outside and explore the rest of the Pacific Northwest, always with a coffee in hand.
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