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'The nightmare is over' | Dog missing almost a year reunited with owner

Walter slipped his collar last Thanksgiving in Arnold and was found on Friday the 13th

ARNOLD, Mo. — It's one of those miracle stories with a happy ending almost too good to be true. After spending almost a year in the woods behind an industrial park in Arnold, Walter the dog was captured on Nov. 13. 

In order to understand how incredible this is, we have to take you back to Thanksgiving 2019.

Kate Olson, of New Hampshire, was in Arnold visiting family when Walter slipped out of his collar. Walter is an anxious golden retriever and took off. Olson stayed in St. Louis for weeks printing fliers and retracing his steps hoping to find him. 

In the months that passed, Olson got a few calls of sightings and held out hope. She flew back to St. Louis in January to continue her search.

“I just want to know if he’s okay. I want him to know that I’m not giving up on him. I’ll never give up on him,” she told Today in St. Louis' Allie Corey at the time.

Olson created a "Where's Walter?" Facebook page and had animal rescue groups searching for him. She estimates she spent close to $1,000 between the fliers and trips back and forth from New Hampshire to St. Louis. 

Ten months passed and Olson started to think she'd never see him again, until she got the call she'd been praying for on Nov. 13. Walter had been captured by Lost Paws Trapping of Belleville, Illinois. Olson jumped on the next flight to St. Louis and was reunited with Walter Friday night.

Lost Paws Trapping is run by volunteers who work entirely on donations. The video of his capture and the reunion has been viewed tens of thousands of times. 

"They are my heroes," Olson said.

Credit: Kate Olson

Walter has since had two baths and special treatment by K-9 Grooming in Oakville. They gave him a cleaning for free.

"He has been such a little love. He is the same sweet boy he was before and maybe even sweeter because he has missed getting loved on!" Olson told 5 On Your Side.

Credit: Kate Olson

He has a vet appointment Monday to make sure he has a clean bill of heath.