If there was ever a more beneficial time to have a dog, the harrowing ordeal a 72-year-old woman just experienced would be one.
On Monday, Ann Rodgers was rescued by first responders after spending nine days in the Arizona wilderness, 12 News Phoenix reports. Her cat was located April 3 inside the car she’d left behind while she looked for help with Queenie, her Queensland Terrier Mix Rescue.
“All things considered,” Rodgers told 12 News, she is feeling “fabulously” following her fight for survival.
The journey began March 31 when the Tucson, Arizona, grandmother left her home to visit her grandchildren in Phoenix. She soon ran out of gas and became disoriented. After spending one night in the car, she and Queenie made their way on foot to find a cell signal and/or help.
For more than a week, Queenie reportedly helped with guiding Rodgers through the rough terrain as the two survived on vegetation and pond water, as well as campfires to keep warm at night.
“Queenie’s leash became a tool because it was a heavy chain … that I could wrap around logs and snap and drag those big pieces that I couldn’t normally move myself for firewood,” Rodgers told 12 News.
It wasn’t until April 9 that White River Tribal Game and Fish officers found Queenie walking out of the Canyon Creek area. It took two more days before sheriff deputies located Rodgers who had spelled out the word “HELP” with stick and rocks placed near the skull of a carcass she’d found to help draw attention to her.
According to the Gila County Sheriff’s Office, all parties — including 2-year-old Queenie — are home safe, sound and lucky to be alive.
“I was eating desert plants, my dog was, too, diving into clover and finding all the places that were the easiest path for me to take,” Rodgers told KOLD News 13 in Tucson. “She was my path finder on that journey.”