By Eric Crews
Staff Writer 

Bertha Found After Intensive Search


(Above) Ann Bayer holds on tightly to her dog, Bertha, which was lost for several days in Pisgah National Forest. (Courtesy photos)

When Anne Bayer lost her dog, Bertha, more than a week ago in the Pisgah National Forest, she wasn’t sure she would ever see her again.

On the first day, Bayer asked strangers she met along the trail if they had seen her small black terrier. Oftentimes, the responses she received made her worry that Bertha might have been lost forever.

One hiker reported that he saw a small dog, who was wearing a blue jacket at the time, running through the woods where she tried to cross a creek, fell into the water and was swept over a waterfall.

“It was about to be frigid cold, and she has her coat hanging off of her and she is soaking wet,” she said. “That was the last I ever heard anything of her.”

Bayer placed an ad in The Transylvania Times, called into work to explain what was going on and set up camp in the woods.

She spent the better part of four days searching the trails and roads near the Avery Creek trail where she last saw her dog but came up empty handed.

After four days, Bayer said she went back to her home in Asheville feeling dejected. But her friends told her they were determined they were going to find her dog.

“They were like, ‘We’re going to go find her,’” she said. “They rode a different loop, and when they were driving back at the end of the ride they saw her way in the distance on the other side of the road.”

Bayer said the dog, who was about 14 pounds when she was lost Feb. 4, was down to 10 pounds when her friends found her near Pink Beds, nearly five miles away from where Bayer last saw her. By that time, Bertha was a mess. Bayer said the small dog, who had been wearing a custom winter jacket, had gotten tangled up in the jacket and was having trouble walking.

“It was incredible,” she said. “Somehow, she had made it over the mountain on three legs with one leg caught up in her jacket.”

Her friends cut the tattered jacket off Bertha, warmed her up and drove her home.

Bayer said being reunited with her dog was a feeling that is hard to describe.

“It was just the best feeling,” she said.

Bayer, who is a veterinarian, said she chose her profession in order to “decrease animal suffering in any way that I could.”

For that reason, she said knowing that her dog could be out there suffering was really tough.

“To think that she could have died suffering and panicking and feeling like I left her out there was something that I felt like I could have never forgiven myself for,” she said. “So when I got her back, it was just the best day ever.”


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