Ted Kubacki gets a lick from the family golden retriever, Lulu, outside their house after being reunited in Sitka, Alaska, on Thursday, July 7, 2022. The elderly, blind dog who had been missing three weeks, was found Tuesday, July 5, 2022, by a construction crew in salmonberry bushes after initially confusing her for a bear. Behind Ted is his wife, Rebecca, and their children Ella, Viola, Star, Lazaria and Olive. (James Poulson / The Daily Sitka Sentinel)

Ted Kubacki gets a lick from the family golden retriever, Lulu, outside their house after being reunited in Sitka, Alaska, on Thursday, July 7, 2022. The elderly, blind dog who had been missing three weeks, was found Tuesday, July 5, 2022, by a construction crew in salmonberry bushes after initially confusing her for a bear. Behind Ted is his wife, Rebecca, and their children Ella, Viola, Star, Lazaria and Olive. (James Poulson / The Daily Sitka Sentinel)

Blind, older dog found in Sitka 3 weeks after wandering off

“We have our family member home.”

  • Associated Press
  • Friday, July 8, 2022 12:52pm
  • Newsdogs

SITKA — An Alaska family had given up hope of finding their blind, elderly golden retriever who wandered away from their home three weeks ago, but a construction crew found Lulu in salmonberry bushes after initially confusing her for a bear.

Lulu was barely alive after being found Tuesday, but she is being nursed back to health and is back home with her family, the Daily Sitka Sentinel reported.

“She means everything,” owner Ted Kubacki said. “I have five daughters and they’re 4 to 13 years old, so they’ve spent every day of their life with that dog.”

The Kubacki family searched for weeks after Lulu wandered off June 18.

“She’s just so helpless, and you kind of imagined that she can’t get real far because she can’t see,” he said.

It didn’t help when the family was the subject of a terrible joke when someone claimed they found Lulu a few days into the search.

“We put the kids to bed and got a text saying, ‘We found your dog,’ or ‘I have your dog,’ and we’re like, ‘Oh my god, this is incredible,’” he said. “Then the person texted me, ‘Just kidding.’ This happened, yeah, that was all part of this terrible story.”

After searching weeks, the family had given up hope.

But then a construction crew this week spotted Lulu lying in the brush alongside a road not far from the Kubacki’s home. She was about 15 feet down an embankment, and at first the crew thought it was a bear.

“They got a closer look and they realized that it was a dog, and they got her out of there,” Kubacki said.

All the sadness melted away when he got the call that Lulu had been found.

“I called my wife from work and it was just screaming… She just starts yelling, then she yells to the kids. And I just hear them screaming like crazy,” Kubacki said.

Although alive, Lulu was in bad shape. The 80-pound dog had dropped 23 pounds since she was lost; she was dehydrated, dirty and her fur was matted.

“I just expected to come back and be like ‘Hey, here’s my dog.’ She’s going to jump up and wag her tail and kiss my face, and she couldn’t even pick up her head,” he said. “She’d been through the wringer.”

Lulu’s condition has markedly improved with medical care, food and rest.

“Slowly but surely she started eating and she was kind of able to pick her head up,” Kubacki said. “But then yesterday, she propped herself up on her front paws by herself, like nestled into me and gave me a kiss and wagged her tail and it was just so great.”

A day later, she was able to stand on her own.

Kubacki, a grocery store employee and the sole provider for his family of seven, then worried about the veterinarian’s bill.

Those fears were unfounded as Sitka residents donated hundreds of dollars to cover Lulu’s recuperation bills.

“We have our family member home,” Kubacki said.

More in News

(Juneau Empire file photo)
Aurora forecast for the week of April 15

These forecasts are courtesy of the University of Alaska Fairbanks’ Geophysical Institute… Continue reading

TJ Beers holds a sign to advocate for the rights of people experiencing homelessness outside the state Capitol on April 9. Beers was homeless for four years and in three states. “I don’t know how I survived,” he said. (Claire Stremple/Alaska Beacon)
Lawmakers weigh whether to reduce or acknowledge rights of growing Alaska homeless population

As cities try to house people, Dunleavy’s protest bill would further criminalize them, advocates say.

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire file photo)
Police calls for Saturday, April 13, 2024

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire file photo)
Police calls for Friday, April 12, 2024

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire file photo)
Police calls for Thursday, April 11, 2024

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

The sky and mountains are reflected in the water on April 5, 2012, at the Kootznoowoo Wilderness in the Tongass National Forest’s Admiralty Island National Monument. Conservation organizations bought some private land and transferred it to the U.S. Forest Service, resulting in an incremental expansion of the Kootznoowoo Wilderness and protection of habitat important to salmon and wildlife. (Photo by Don MacDougall/U.S. Forest Service)
Conservation groups’ purchase preserves additional land in Alaska’s Tongass National Forest

A designated wilderness area in Southeast Alaska’s Tongass National Forest, the largest… Continue reading

A welcome sign is shown Sept. 22, 2021, in Tok. President Joe Biden won Alaska’s nominating contest on Saturday. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)
Biden wins more delegates in Alaska and Wyoming as he heads toward Democratic nomination

President Joe Biden nudged further ahead in the Democratic nomination for reelection… Continue reading

Juneau Assembly members and other visitors examine a meeting room formerly used by the nine-member Alaska State Board of Education and Early Development on Monday, April 8, which is about 25% larger than the Assembly Chambers at City Hall. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Of three possible new City Hall buildings, one stands out — but plenty of proposed uses for other two

Michael J. Burns Building eyed as city HQ; childcare, animal shelter among options at school sites.

Senate President Gary Stevens, R-Kodiak, speaks to members of the Senate majority caucus’ leadership group on Friday. (James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)
Schools, university and projects across Alaska are set to receive money from new budget bill

Alaska Senate sends draft capital budget to House as work continues on a state spending plan

Most Read