Dog, missing for 20 months in Lake Tahoe wilderness, reunited with family

FORESTHILL, Calif. — Murphy the golden retriever went missing for 20 months in the Tahoe National Forest but now is finally home.

“We had heard the story, and there were bulletins posted, ‘missing since October of 2012,'” said Janice Watkins, who helped catch Murphy.

Last weekend, Janice and her family were at the Lewis Campground in French Meadows, less than 5 miles from where Murphy went missing, when the wayward dog decided to pay them a visit.

“The dog actually came over and met our dog,” Janice’s husband, Russ Watkins, said.

Murphy stood next to their border collie, Trip, just long enough for them to take hold of the 5-year-old golden retriever.

“Just kinda walked over and grabbed her by the scruff of the neck until we could get a leash on her,” Janice said.

“She was very timid. She had her tail tucked most of the time, until halfway through Saturday. Then she started wagging it,” Russ said. “She was very sweet.”

A Facebook page, dedicated to finding her had this from Murphy’s owners:

Our dearest Family and Friends,

After 20 long months of being in the Tahoe National Forest, Murphy has come home. As you can imagine we are completely shocked and amazed with the miracle of her surviving this long.

We were reunited with Murphy, on Sunday afternoon – Father’s Day! She is on the road to recovery.

Words cannot describe how grateful we are.

“It’s a good feeling. I’m glad she’s back with her owner, because it’s an incredible story,” Russ said. “What that dog could tell us right now, if she could talk. because how she survived, I have no idea.”