On December 2, over three hours away from their home in Eugene, Oregon, the Carmichael family made a rest stop before the final stretch of their road trip. The quick break took a disastrous turn when the family’s beloved dog, Max, took advantage of a briefly-open door and lept from the car. In a horrifying series of events, Max bolted towards the highway and was grazed by a diesel truck. Max survived, but as terrified dogs often do, he continued running.
The Carmichael family attempted to follow their last family member as he darted and dodged more oncoming vehicles. When they finally spotted Max again, he was stopped near a car that had pulled to the side of the road – incredibly, the woman driving the car explained that she had also inadvertently hit the frantic dog.
Injured and afraid, Max opted to run into a wooded area rather than back towards his family. The panicked Carmichaels spent hours searching for their furry family member, but with the setting sun came the dawning realization that they would likely be unable to find him. Shrouded in darkness and overcome with grief, the family made a heartbreaking decision – they had to return home without Max.
After Max’s disappearance, the family continued their search. They created a website filled with information and photos to draw attention to their missing pup, posted photos to pet groups near the area where Max disappeared and made the 3.5-hour drive multiple times to return to the rest stop and search the surrounding area themselves.
On December 21, the family got the Christmas miracle they’d been waiting for. “Our family is on the way up to the Dalles,” the Carmichaels shared on Max’s website. “Max has been located by ODOT [Oregon Department of Transportation]!!!!!! God bless ODOT, Oregon State Police (OSP), Hood River Sheriffs Department, Wasco County Sheriffs Department, and all of the amazing kind people who live in that area, don’t know us, but worked to help to find our MAX. There are no words except for ‘God is Great.’ Kindness still is king.”
Christmas🎄came early for this family, when they were reunited with their dog “Max” who had been missing for several weeks. Watch video reunion- https://t.co/xmZ2Yir7GP
Special thanks to Wasco County SO, @OregonDOT & Columbia Veterinarian Hospital!
— Oregon State Police (@ORStatePolice) December 22, 2020
The Oregon State Police shared the touching reunion on Facebook, and after 19 days in the Oregon wilderness, Miracle Max (the second) got to spend Christmas exactly where he belonged – warm and safe at home with his family.