It's every dog mom and dad's worst nightmare! Delta, a black goldendoodle, become separated from her owners in Yellowstone National Park on June 22 and was lost for 16 days before being found safe. Luckily, she was just recently happily reunited with her family on Thursday of last week.

Delta ran off at at Artists Paintpots which is a thermal area near Norris Geyser Basin. From there she was on her own for over two weeks in one of the biggest national parks that's home to wolves, coyotes, and bears. We'll never know what exactly the goldendoodle encountered and experienced during those two weeks. The story is also unclear how Delta escaped her owners in the first place.

Delta had apparently been spotted by tourists and park rangers a handful of times during those two weeks but they were unable to capture here because she was so skittish. They feared she would run further away from a spot she was able to survive in for a little while. Things especially got scary when there were no Delta sightings for three days during the 4th of July weekend.

Finally, the owners were able to capture her themselves in the same parking lot where they lost her 16 days later. An Idaho-based volunteer animal rescue group, Ladies and The Trap has also been credited for playing a key role in helping the owners retrieve their dog.

Yellowstone-themed social media pages blew up with people on both sides - some expressing concern and anger at Delta’s owners for allowing her to get loose in the first place (Yellowstone has strict rules regarding dogs). Others were supportive in finding Delta and bringing her home.

A Yellowstone Park spokesman shared the following guidelines to help prevent this happening to other dog owners and their pups again:

  • Pets may only accompany people in developed areas and must remain within 100 feet of roads, parking areas and campgrounds.
  • Pets must be physically controlled at all times: they must be in a car, in a crate, or on a leash no more than six feet long.
  • Pets are not allowed on boardwalks, hiking trails, in the backcountry or in thermal areas.
  • Pets may not be left unattended or tied to an object.
  • Pets may not be left in a situation where food, water, shade, ventilation, and other basic needs are inadequate. Pets may remain in vehicles for short periods of time, but we recommend that someone stay behind to personally ensure their well-being.
  • Owners must bag and dispose of pet waste.

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