In early February, Paweł Kałuziak headed out on a walk with his dog, Gucio, along a wooded trail near their home in Poland. It’s a path Gucio knows well, so Kałuziak occasionally lets Gucio go off leash to explore more freely.
Gucio never strays far and is always quick to return to his owner’s side. But on this day, he didn’t.
When Gucio failed to appear after a few minutes, Kałuziak became concerned.
“He always comes back whenever I call to him,” Kałuziak told The Dodo. “But when I called his name, Gucio did not come back.”
Kałuziak continued to search all through the afternoon, but his dog was nowhere to be found.
Days soon passed into weeks with no sign of Gucio, despite Kałuziak’s constant searching. He asked others to be on the lookout, too, refusing to rest until his dog was safely back home.
“I never lost hope that I would find Gucio,” Kałuziak said. “But it became such a long time without finding him.”
What Kałuziak didn’t know, however, was that his dog was trapped in a place he had no way of escaping.
More than a month after Gucio disappeared, a man was in the same area on a walk with his dog Diego, a Jack Russell terrier, when something caught the little pup’s attention.
Diego began tugging on his leash incessantly, ultimately leading his owner to a deep hole hidden in the landscape.
Inside was Guico. He was emaciated and exhausted, too weak to bark — but Diego had found him just in time.
Diego’s owner ran home and got a ladder, lifting fragile Guico to safety.
The man’s wife recognized the dog as the one Kałuziak had been desperately looking for, so she contacted him with the good news.
“At first, I didn’t believe it,“ Kałuziak said. “When I went to their house and saw Gucio, I started to shake. I fell to my knees and hugged him. It was the happiest day of my life.”
All told, it’s believed that Gucio had been trapped in the hole for 32 days, surviving on melting snow. He’d grown very weak and thin, but it was nothing Gucio couldn’t overcome with the love of his family.
He was finally home.
“I missed him very much,” Kałuziak said. “For me, it was the same as a family member being missing.”
With each day, Gucio continues to regain his strength. But he still hasn’t forgotten the one who helped him escape his long ordeal in the hole.
The other day, Kałuziak arranged a playdate for Gucio and the little dog who saved his life.
As the two dogs played on that sunny morning, Kałuziak couldn’t help but reflect that the happy moment was only possible thanks to that little hero, Diego.
Gucio got a second chance — and gained a new friend in the process.
“They had fun together,” Kałuziak said. “Just having Gucio back home, I’m a happy man again, too.”