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Dog Goes Missing in Subzero Temperatures, Gets Hit by a Car and Still Lives—Meet the Ultimate Survivor

Dempsey, Maine Dog CBS

This is like a real-life Homeward Bound story, except if Homeward Bound were only about one dog and he didn't know how to talk and was a lot closer to death and never actually found his way home and there was no bitchy cat serving up delicious doses of sass voiced by Sally Field.

OK, so it's not Homeward Bound at all. But it is about a dog that miraculously returned home.

Jamie Cyrway, a Maryland single mother of three, was visiting her parents in Maine when her family's dog, a one-year-old named Dempsey—for unknown reasons—jumped a six-foot fence in the backyard.

The family searched for days for Dempsey, but with no luck. Jamie's mom, Janet Boothby told CBS Batlimore, "We went out on snow shoes. We went out at night. We took my dog on trails. Jamie and I went through the woods. We had scent stations set up."

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Meanwhile, the Polar Vortex swept in and temperatures plummeted below zero. The family put up flyers in the neighborhood and offered a reward, but eventually Jamie had to return to work and her family was forced to leave Maine.

Over a week after Dempsey went missing, Christine Pierce heard that a car had hit a dog near her home. Pierce didn't know the Cyrway family, but had heard about Dempsey and took her kids out to search for him.

"I followed the tracks...and they went right into the building," Pierce explains. And that's where she found Dempsey, alive but barely "He looked horrible. He was skinny. He wasn't moving and when I saw him, I said, ‘Dempsey, I found you! I can't believe I found you!'"

Dempsey survived nine days in the cold without food. He broke his leg and his heart was barely beating. But Dempsey's vet calls his survival a "miracle." "I think when she found him," he says. "He was probably within an hour or two of dying."

Dempsey still needs surgery, but Jamie says, "I'm just so thankful. Just so, so thankful."

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