Three-Legged German Shepherd Reunited with Owner 6 Months After Going Missing During Hurricane Ida

A dog named Bear is back with his owner after being located with help from a drone

Lisa Licciardi
Photo: Lisa Licciardi

After six months of searching, a Louisiana man has been reunited with his three-legged German Shepherd mix after the dog went missing during Hurricane Ida.

In an effort to escape the natural disaster in September, Harrison Sibley fled from Louisiana to a friend's home in Sevier County, Tennessee, with his 10-year-old dog Bear in tow, Knoxville's WVLT reports.

While Sibley was on a hike, however, Bear took off and wouldn't be seen again for months.

Though the heartbroken pet owner eventually went back home, Bear was still at large. A Facebook group was then launched to help find the pup, and Sibley took drastic measures to find his pet.

"I came up to Tennessee four times since then, I drove three, flew once," Sibley told the outlet.

Bear wasn't spotted until January when he was seen on security cameras. He has since been reunited with Sibley after a local couple trapped the loose dog earlier this week.

"It was so, it was like pure emotion, it was just like — I saw him, I guess the first thing in my head was just like, hold him, grab him," Sibley shared with WVLT.

Bear reunion
Lisa Licciardi

He added: "It's been six months of just growth, trying to grow as a person. You know, going through all the pain and I was just blessed enough to get him back and grow through all of it. So I'm just happy to have him again in my arms, you know. I'm just thanking God that everything has gone back to normal."

Sibley ended by joking that he would feed Bear steak to celebrate.

Jimi Holscher, whose drone helped find Bear, tells PEOPLE he joined the cause after his mother sent him a post from the Facebook group in January.

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"I've never used my drone to find a dog. But I heard he was three-legged and it touched me," Holscher says, adding that he and Sibley put together a plan during one of his many trips up to Tennessee.

Holscher also reveals Bear's first sighting was at 3 a.m. local time one January morning. "I probably had eyes on him for about 25 minutes," he recalls. "I followed him in the woods through a house. A couple who lived nearby, Rebecca and Craig, caught him in the trap but nothing happened."

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Holscher adds that after the unsuccessful first capture, Bear left and "bounced all over the place" for roughly four miles. His drone later caught the canine on camera, leading to Sibley's first emotional reunion since Bear went missing.

"The dog was about 20 ft. in front of me. I called Harrison and he rushed over. He got down on his knees telling Bear to come home, but [the dog] took off running. I felt like my job was done."

Holscher shares that he soon realized Bear might have been afraid as he "hadn't seen his owner for months," adding, "he circled that same area and kept coming back, so something must've clicked for him."

The search continued for two more days, with Craig and Rebecca building a larger trap. Thankfully, Bear roamed in the next night, ending the search for good on Saturday.

"They called Harrison at 3 in the morning and he drove straight there. It was the greatest moment," Holscher says.

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