Bayfield to Pagosa: Dog returns home after 40-mile journey


By Melanie Brubaker Mazur
Pine River Times editor

Photo courtesy of Andre Sarnow
Marley returned home after being missing for 12 days, having traveled from Bayfield to Williams Reservoir, north of Pagosa Springs.

Marley is one well-traveled collie.

She got out of her downtown Bayfield yard on Thursday, Jan. 9 when a gate didn’t shut properly.

She’s always been skittish of other people, and owner Missy Sarnow thinks Marley just got flustered and ran north across U.S. 160, then past Dove Ranch and Bayfield Cemetery. Sarnow, her husband Andre, and friends immediately got in their cars and started searching for Marley. Responding to flyers and Sarnow’s posts on Facebook, people called and said they had seen the dog, but they couldn’t get the shy pooch to  come close enough to catch her.

Then the calls started coming from Bear Creek and Forest Lakes, even further north on La Plata County Road 501.

Then there had been no calls for the past week or so, and Sarnow said she feared for the worst. She told their daughters that Marley might not be coming home.

On Tuesday, Jan. 21, she got a surprising call. Rancher Dave Guilliams of Pagosa Springs had seen a skinny collie near his front porch, and he lured her into the house with bologna.

Marley has a nametag, and he called Sarnow. Guilliams lives near Williams Reservoir, 18 miles north of Pagosa Springs. He estimates she traveled about 30 miles from Forest Lakes to his ranch, through some pretty hard country and freezing cold at night.

“She is skin and bones,” Sarnow said, but other than that, the three-year-old dog is healthy. Marley probably survived lows in the teens at night because of her thick coat, Sarnow guessed.

Guilliams told Sarnow he never bothered getting nametags for the cattle dogs on his ranch before, but he has become a believer and is getting them now.

“I just wanted to thank everybody who called and looked,” Sarnow said. One friend of hers said a four-year-old child saw a flyer and was trying to go out and find her dog.

“It was so nice,” Sarnow said.

Their daughters are thrilled Marley is back home.

She and her husband are also fixing their gate to prevent any further escapes.

Reprinted with permission of the Pine River Times.