BANGOR (AP) – A black Labrador retriever that went missing when its owner drowned on the Allagash Wilderness Waterway was reunited with family members after a three-week ordeal during which it covered an estimated 200 miles of wilderness territory.

The dog, Molly, was presumed to have perished on Memorial Day when her owner, Doug Harmon of Scarborough, and another man drowned after their boat capsized on Chamberlain Lake.

But the dog was spotted at a number of places in the following weeks, and fliers offering a $200 reward for her return were placed at checkpoints in Maine’s North Woods. The dog showed up at a Millinocket home on Saturday and was reunited with family members on Monday.

Eyewitness accounts suggest Molly traveled more than 200 miles while putting up with rugged terrain and thick black flies and evading predators such as coyotes. The dog’s plight touched many state officials, including Gov. John Baldacci, who asked to be kept abreast of the search, said Department of Conservation Commissioner Patrick McGowan.

Molly’s safe return was all the more touching because of her close relationship with Harmon’s three children, ages 8, 12 and 14, McGowan said.

“Obviously, we could never bring back their father, but bringing their dog back was something we could do,” McGowan said. “The chances of this dog’s surviving, I’d say, would be one in a million.”

Molly was reunited Monday with Jared Harmon, 14, who was visiting his grandparents and other relatives in northern Penobscot County.

Jared said Molly, who is 4 or 5 years old, lost a lot of weight but otherwise appeared to be in good shape.

“The people she was with cleaned her up and took real good care of her,” he said.

On the day of the accident, Molly was presumed to have drowned, said Al Cowperthwaite, director of North Maine Woods, a nonprofit group that oversees private and public lands in the North Woods.

But over the next couple of weeks, Molly was spotted by rangers, campers and fishermen in various wilderness areas stretching from Wadleigh Pond, which is less than 20 miles from the Quebec border, to Scraggly Pond some 40 miles away.

On Friday, Molly arrived at the Millinocket home of Alain and Bernadette Sirois, where she gobbled down everything they put in front of her.

Believing that Molly belonged to a local family, the Siroises put up “found dog” posters around Millinocket.

One of those fliers was spotted by a woman who works as a receptionist for North Maine Woods and was visiting Millinocket. Knowing the story of Molly, she called the Siroises and North Maine Woods, setting up the Molly’s return to her family.

“So this is just a great ending. It just gives you goose bumps,” McGowan said.


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