Madawaska couple rescues dog lost for nearly two months

3 months ago

MADAWASKA, Maine — A local couple has rescued a lost German shepherd that has wandered the town of Madawaska for nearly two months.

Helen and Lloyd Fortin gained the dog’s trust in early February and began to care for it.

It is unclear where the dog came from. Helen Fortin posted the dog on Facebook and said she heard from others that it may have belonged to a family that left town last December, but Fortin said she has not been able to reach them. 

Fortin said she started to see the dog outside her property when her husband placed bait for coyotes, but the animal was not approachable. For about a month and a half before she took in the dog, Fortin said the animal would also visit the farm animals on her neighbor’s property.

“Then one day, Lloyd was making trails in our backyard with the snowmobile so we could walk around our property,” Fortin said. “He noticed the dog sitting in one of the trails on the property watching him.”

She soon saw the dog again, around mid-January, and it looked at her for a few minutes with pointed ears before running off.


The dog slowly became more comfortable around the Fortins’ property, but the people were leery at first because they didn’t know what the animal would do. On Feb. 5, Fortin said her cleaning lady noticed the dog outside and suggested Fortin feed it. Fortin gave the dog a piece of ham, and soon she was playing with the animal outside.

“[Lloyd] said to go outside and play with her, so I got dressed with gloves, hat, scarf and a big down jacket, not sure if she was going to maul me,” Fortin said. “When I opened the door she backed off, and I walked off the deck. She followed me, then walked beside me so excited, and started playing like a young puppy.”

MADAWASKA, Maine — March 7, 2024 — A Madawaska couple recently rescued this German Shepherd, who they have named Luna, after it was lost in town for nearly two months. (Contributed photo)

The dog led Fortin to a trail with a large circle indented in the snow, about eight inches deep, where it had been sleeping.

“I thought to myself, ‘What a strong dog to have survived a month and a half outside in the cold, eating what she could to stay alive,’” Fortin said.

From there, the Fortins decided to care for the dog and to name her Luna. Fortin said that Luna is already responding when her name is called.

They have now had Luna for about a month, and Fortin said she has not been able to find the original owner. She asked a local dog trainer to check the dog for chips, but none were found. 

Luna also did not have a collar.

After weeks of attempting to get a veterinarian appointment, Fortin will take Luna to a vet in Presque Isle in late April so she can be spayed and vaccinated. Once vaccinated, Fortin will take the dog to the town office for registration and to see if they can help her find out any information about who her prior owners were.

“I’m doing everything I’m supposed to do,” Fortin said, “but meanwhile we’re enjoying her, and she’s amazing.”