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Ovation: Shaun Duling’s Dog Runs For Miles To Stay With Him.

10/27/2012

Shaun Duling and Bolt

Every morning, my chubby little dog goes outside as soon as I wake.  Usually in a groggy stupor, I walk her to the door and let her outside for her first break of the day.  Since we live in a fairly secluded setting, it’s not unusual for me to step outside in my sleepwear without shoes to keep an eye on her.  This morning, I we went outside well before sunrise and, because her fur is black and she’s hard to see in the dark, I did my best to keep an eye on her as she went about her business.  Suddenly, perhaps having seen a shadow/squirrel/yeti, she bolted out of sight.  That round black dog is fast!  But, normally, she’s only fast for about twenty feet before she drops from exhaustion.  She simply cannot run away.

This morning, however, I lost her in the darkness.

Not one to traipse about in the darkness barefoot and wearing my night-clothes, I headed indoors to cover up, put on shoes and search for her.  But, as soon as she saw me heading toward the door she came running toward me from out of the darkness, rustling through the fallen leaves, afraid that I’d leave her behind.  I think she loves me.

Shaun Duling’s dog, Bolt, loves him, too.  Duling rescued a skittish Bolt while serving as a Marine in Afghanistan.  Duling and a friend helped the malnourished dog back to get healthy and, soon, he and the Labrador-Shepherd mix became a loyal pair.

“When I’d go out on runs, he’d be right there next to me.  Every morning, he’d walk to the office with me.  I think once he established that trust, he was almost inseparable.” – Shaun Duling discussing his rescued dog, Bolt.

Their bond was tested, however, when Duling’s commanding officer ordered all dogs be removed and dropped off in a village more than twelve miles away.  Bolt, apparently, was confused when they came to take him away but Duling could do nothing about it.  The following day, miraculously, when Duling woke for work he found Bolt waiting for him with a wagging tail.  His fellow solders indicated that, after they’d dropped the dogs off in the village, Bolt ran behind the truck for ten miles before the commander ordered them to stop and pick him up … and allowed him to stay.

When Duling’s tour came to an end, Bolt tried to jump into the helicopter as he left and had to be physically restrained.  But now, thanks to a dog rescue organization called Nowzad, Bolt is headed to the U.S.  Online donations in excess of $4,000 have enabled Bolt to take the long plane ride around the world to be reunited with Duling.  Bolt is currently in quarantine but will be back at his owner’s side by next week.

I wonder how far my dog would go to be with me.  Maybe I should dress better when I take her outside.

Has your dog ever followed you that far?

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From → Ovations

13 Comments
  1. Barneysday permalink

    What a great human kindness story. We so easily forget the animals we’ve taken for granted, and it is wonderful to see these loyal dogs being reunited with their human friends. Thanks for sharing

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  2. I have one that is constantly running “to things” not so much running away but I don’t think he ever thinks twice about leaving me behind or how to get him. My other one, is afraid that I’m the one that is going to run away so she always has an eye on me.

    Neither of them has had to run 10 miles to follow me, but they do know what my luggage and car keys mean and so do their best to make sure they are with me which usually entails scooting out the door and waiting by the Jeep.

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  3. BTW – I love this story and will use it for one of my Dogable Pawfect saturday posts! Full credit of course.

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  4. It’s just great that Bolt was determined. That commander….good man. I am glad man and dog are going to be re-united very soon

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  5. Wonderful story!
    I had a black lab that would get lost in the night and not come to me until I went out looking for her.

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  6. Oh man I am loving this story. My Sonic gets too excited when he goes outside, that he’d just run off and chase whatever he can find if we unleashed him. I wish he’d learned more from his friend Bruno. Bruno loves to run too, but would always turn around to make sure you are within 5m of him, otherwise he’d turn back and return to your side.

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  7. I don’t know why the military is so rigid on this shit. ANYTHING to help a soldier cope should be allowed. I’m so glad that Bolt has a good home now.

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  8. I love that story! We can learn a lot from dogs, can’t we? Loyalty is something special. I’m so glad Bold is getting to come ‘home’.

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