Dog rescued after week in the cold

CREATED Jan. 8, 2014

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OAK CREEK--A dog survives seven days outside in the bitter cold. His owner can't believe the dog is home.

"He looked like he had come from the North Pole," said owner Joe Bellehumeur.

He thought he would never see his 6-year old Rottweiler again. Hooch went missing from his new South Milwaukee surroundings on New Year's Eve.

"They let him out to go to the bathroom and he just ran off," said Bellehumeur.

A search for the big gentle dog was launched on social media. Friend Diane Mihalko posted fliers everywhere with help of a volunteer group called Lost Dogs of Wisconsin.

But as time passed and arctic air settled in. Joe was losing hope. "I was thinking: 'Oh no, my baby Hooch is going to be a Popsicle somewhere.'"

But Tuesday morning, Oak Creek workers checking for water main in breaks spotted Hooch under a bridge and thought he looked like the dog on the missing fliers, so they called.

Joe rushed to the scene."I'm looking and all of sudden I see him and I go baby Hooch! And he just sat there and looked at me like Huh, Huh ? And then he ran up to me and I just busted out crying."

But Hooch was tired and weak after seven days in the cold and no food. He lost 25 pounds and had some minor injuries to his paws and mouth from the snow.

Joe says he wants to thank city workers Ryan Maughan and Chuck Struebing for finding Hooch.