Over a period of more than a month, animal lovers from across western Colorado were captivated by the same question: "Where is Mia?"
The timid, 8-year old rescue dog was lost in the winter cold.
Charles Reigies, her owner, recalls the day she vanished, the day following Christmas. Hanna Poscente was his girlfriend and he was driving home to Grand Junction via Interstate 70 when a storm hit. Reigies were swerving when they hit a patch black ice. The Jeep crashed onto its back.
He said, "And when I got there, she was injured and the dog was gone."
They were far from any towns, approximately two hours away from their home, because it was dark outside. Poscente was rushed to the hospital by an ambulance with a fractured neck. Reigies continued to search for Mia through the snow while he waited for a truck.
However, there was no sign of her.
Poscente was now at home and reactivated her account on Facebook to post about Mia. To seek help. She joined a group for lost and found animals in the area. Days passed. These posts were shared and liked by many. Strangers living in isolated towns, separated by mountains, canyons and frozen deserts, kept looking for Mia and posted daily updates online. Poscente stated that they were "like a small village searching for Mia, a dog that they had never met before."
Janet Cross lives just 20 minutes away from the crash site and would make a great mayor. She heard that pets would return to the place they lost them. She set up a trail camera on the spot 10 days after the accident. She was able to see that Mia was still returning twice daily.
"She is looking at the spot. She is looking for her family. Cross stated that she was looking thin. It was very heartbreaking.
It was also hopeful. Mia was still alive.
People called and texted Mia sightings over the next few weeks. Charles and Hanna returned to the crash site every day as much as possible. They had several close calls. They left one afternoon at 5. They left at 5. The camera captured Mia at 7.
Poscente smiled and said, "You could see she was like, ‘Wait! I smell them.’"
Their crash site is only two hours away, and it made things even more difficult. Reigies, who rescued Mia from an animal shelter in 2018, continued to grieve her.
He said, "Just about any day that we came back empty-handed, it was terrible."
Mia's story was being shared on Facebook constantly. Animal control had also given Cross a trap which she was required to inspect every hour. Between checks, she parked at a nearby station to do so.
Mia found her true passion and became her full-time occupation.
Cross stated, "But I couldn't stop believing in her," Cross said, "I couldn't let her go. Then, things became more dire. Many of Mia's online fans worried that she was being held behind a deer fence, which was destroyed in the car accident. For eight days, there were no Mia sightings.
Poscente finally received a call from a woman.
She recalls her saying, "I'm looking over your dog."
Mia was approximately 10 miles away from the crash site. Poscente was still wearing a neck brace when he was driven by a friend to the area.
Mia was scared the first night. They stayed in a nearby hotel and Poscente decided to give it another go the next day. Poscente began walking along the tracks, as snow fell, after her friend left. She turned to look up, and to her right, she saw Mia, fully camouflaged by the snow and sagebrush.
Mia didn't get scared. She didn't run away. She looked up and began walking towards Poscente. Poscente had filmed the moment using her cell phone.
"Hi, baby, hi!" Poscente's voice is hoarse as Mia walks closer to her. "Oh my God!"
The video ends because Mia began jumping all over her. Mia threw Reigies off of his feet when they returned home.
He said, "And as soon I saw her in that place, it was over." It was a flood of tears.
Mia had her ribs exposed and her white fur was filthy, but she was otherwise the same -- quiet and a little goofy, unless she is eating. She has eaten a lot since her return.
Reigies praised her stomach and said that she was a "real sweet dog".
Mia was able to return home thanks to the support of many people after just one month and one single day.