Hope appears to be fading for the safe return of a pet dog that has been loose in Yellowstone National Park for nearly two weeks.
The female black goldendoodle, named Delta, escaped from her owners at Artists Paintpots, a thermal feature near Norris Geyser Basin, on or about June 22.
She apparently crossed a river and became wary of humans. Although she was spotted regularly for more than week, she did not respond to calls.
Park rangers have tried to catch Delta but have not made her capture a high priority. (Restrictions regarding pets inside the park are very strict; dogs are not allowed off-leash and must be physically controlled by their owners at all times.)
A park spokeswoman told For The Win Outdoors early last week: “Rangers are aware that a dog has been on the loose. They are watching for it and trying to catch it while responding to a variety of other incidents and visitor needs.”
Last Wednesday, Mike Matsis, Delta’s owner, stated via Facebook that she was “still being spotted daily” and vowed to remain in the park until she was captured.
However, Matsis sounded less hopeful in a Sunday night update.
“We have not had any sightings for almost three days,” Matsis wrote. “All we can ask is that if any one has a Delta sighting please take a photo and note the time, day, and location, and tell a ranger or PM me. Do not chase or call, just sight from the road. She will not come to people so please don’t scare her away.”
Matsis suggested that Delta has simply moved to another area and thanked the many well-wishers who have expressed concern.
Matsis has not responded to inquiries by For The Win Outdoors regarding precisely when and how Delta escaped into the wilderness.
Among the threats to her safety, aside from cold nights and the potential scarcity of food, are wolves, coyotes, mountain lions, and bears.