Missing Nevada man’s dog rescued in Chama Wilderness after a month; search continues for man

New Mexico News

ESPAÑOLA, N.M. (KRQE) – A dog is getting a second chance at life after his owner went missing in a New Mexico forest. “Snoopy” was rescued after more than a month on his own out in the wild. It’s been a few months since Paul Silvas of Reno, Nev. vanished in the Chama Wilderness area near Abiquiú. Last month, crews got a surprise in their search.

“When his owner was reported missing and the search and rescue crews went out, they found Snoopy who had been faithfully waiting at his owner’s car for over a month,” said Mattie Allen with Española Humane. “Animal Control brought him to the shelter where we cared for him. He was in our care for almost six weeks.”

With no sign of Silvas, Española Humane took Snoopy in and put out a call for foster help. Wendy Hartmann saw the post and jumped into action.

“I knew that his owner was missing about the very beginning of December,” said Hartmann. “I didn’t find out probably until the second week of January where he was and decided that I needed to go get him.”

Hartmann also lives in Reno and knows Silvas. Snoopy would often stay with her during work and she would take him on walks after Silvas had hip surgery.

“He was so special to all of us. We didn’t even know his story when he came in, and yet, we were all inexplicably drawn to him. He’s so bright and sweet,” said Allen. “We don’t know the stories of animals when they come to the shelter and with Snoopy, we had the privilege of learning his story and the honor to help him continue on his journey.”

Hartmann flew out to New Mexico and rented a car to take Snoopy back to his new home in Reno and a second chance at life. She says they had some adventures along the way, stopping at the Grand Canyon, the Petrified Forest, and Valley of Fire.

“He’s getting adjusted. He’s had a very traumatic past couple of months and with the animals in my house and just meeting everybody, he’s a very well-behaved dog but it’s still a lot for him,” said Hartmann. “He’s doing good, considering everything he’s been through.”

The people at Española Humane know Snoopy couldn’t have found a better home. They look forward to watching him from afar as he settles in.

“It is bittersweet and it’s a comfort to us to know that he has a familiar face and a home to go to,” said Allen. “I feel grateful also that his loved ones have a sense of comfort knowing his owner’s dog is with someone who knows and loves him.”

KRQE News 13 spoke with Silvas’s family. They say search and rescue crews scoured parts of the Chama Wilderness again in the last couple of weeks, with no sign of him. They’ll go back out when the weather improves.

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