Two days after Christmas, I let Peanut out as I usually do in the backyard. We have a hole in the fence that we've known about, but hadn't had the chance to fix it yet. Wouldn't you know it, Peanut found the hole and skipped through it just as I was watching her. Now, she has escaped our yard before and normally goes across the street to my inlaws house. So, I took my time putting on my boots and coat and trenched outside to look for her. When I didn't see her behind the fence, I walked across the street and she wasn't there.

Hours later, we were still walking around searching for her, calling her name and putting up posters. We called the police in the neighboring towns, called the local shelters and put signs up where people had seen her. We visited the shelter every day. We even had the local fire department and town searching for her as well as many family and friends. I had everyone praying for her safe return.

The next few days were the coldest of the year (with wind chills below zero). I was convinced that she had frozen to death in the cold. I had tremendous guilt since I was the one who had let her out; I was devastated with the not knowing. People told me they lost their dogs up to six weeks, but it wasn't the dead of winter.

Then, a week later to the day, someone called and said Peanut was on their back deck taking a nap in the sun. They were able to lure her in with some cheese and got our number from the tag on her collar. We all ran to the car and went to get our little girl and brought her home. She was less than 3 miles away.

We now have a leash for her to walk on until the Spring when we can comb the backyard for any more holes in the fence. My husband plans on burying the fence two feet in the ground, so she won't be able to dig out even if she tried. Dogs are very resilient and can survive a lot. Never give up hope and I firmly believe in the power of prayer.

Sheryl, NJ