On Sunday, May 10, 2015, I was boating on the Vermilion River with some friends and as we slowed to idle speed near the bridge in Milton, we heard a strange sound.

While we were under the bridge, we realized that it was a dog whimpering.  When we looked up, we couldn't believe what we saw:  a brown and white dog was standing on top of a cement support structure, about 10 feet below the bridge railing.

The dog (we now know her name is Ellie) was too high off of the water to try to coax it to jump, so we nosed the boat up to the bank, and I ran up the hill to the bridge to see if I could reach her.

(Youtube)

As you can see in the video, Ellie was in a peculiar place:  we couldn't see how she could have climbed up to where she was sitting, nor could we find a way for her to have climbed down; we can only figure that she jumped/fell over the railing of the bridge and landed there!

She had limited space to move about (not much at all); one wrong move and she would have fallen several feet to the river.

As you can see in the video, I carefully climbed over the railing of the bridge and monkeyed my way down to where she was perched.  I took a few moments to let Ellie sniff me out (and vice versa!); when I realized that she wasn't going to bite, I picked her up and made my way back up to the railing of the bridge.

via Youtube

I couldn't see traffic, but I could hear cars, so I waited until they had driven by before attempting to get her over the railing.  I kept a good grip on her until I got over the railing, and then walked back down the embankment to the boat.

We rode the river back to Abbeville, and my brother Danny held on to her.  Ellie was still shaken up, but wasn't trying to get away; it seemed she was comforted by my brother holding her.

When I got Ellie to my house, she was still a little shaken up, but she calmed down later in the evening.  House trained, affectionate, very clean; we knew that this was someone's baby!  She snuggled with me last night, all through the night, so I know that someone was treating this dog well.

The next morning, I checked Lost and Found Pets Acadiana, the Facebook page that does just what its name indicates: attempting to reunite lost pets with their owner.  On that page, I saw a post about a missing dog in Milton, and it had a picture of this dog, Ellie!

Bingo!

I spoke with Rhonda (who volunteers as an animal rescuer) and she told me that Ellie got away from its owner (Mr. Don) around 2pm on Saturday, while they were visiting the school in Milton for the Rabies Vaccination Clinic.  We found Ellie around 5pm on Sunday.  I can't imagine how scared the poor thing must have been, being stuck on that bridge like that for over 24 hours!

After a few phone calls, I finally got in touch with Mrs. Liz, Ellie's "Mom"; she was very happy to hear that we had found "Ellie"!

(Staff Photo)

That morning, before heading to work, I drove Ms. Ellie home, to be reunited with her family.  Mr. Don could not believe where I found Ellie: he was visibly emotional, his gratitude evident.  Mr. Don had searched for Ellie until sundown Saturday, and then he was back at it at daybreak, searching for her all day yesterday.

"I never thought to look over the railing of the bridge.  I figured that, if she had jumped over the bridge, she would have landed in the water and made her way to shore." - Mr. Don, Ellie's owner

As I put Ellie down in her back yard, she took to running around the yard with her big brother, obviously very happy to be home!

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