GEAR UP pup lost, found
Hope, a special canine mascot at the UW, is safely back at home after wandering alone in the wilds for two days last month.
Named by low-income, disadvantaged middle school students enrolled in the GEAR UP program when they were on campus last summer (Web Site), Hope was rescued by Burlington Northern Santa Fe engineer Randy Golubic and conductor Dale Wallem. The 1-year old husky was hungry and tired, but otherwise in good shape.
Hope was on a hiking trip with neighbors when she took off after a deer outside of Scenic, on the Deception Falls trail. Friends began a frantic search for the young Siberian husky that lasted two solid days.
Finally, Eastbound Burlington Northern Santa Fe engineer Reggie Anderson spotted the dog in the 8-mile long Cascade Railroad tunnel on his way through, but could not stop in time. He contacted fellow engineer Golubic, who was headed west. Golubic slowed to a crawl through the tunnel and turned off the train’s fans so as not to churn up dust. He and conductor Wallem brought the train to a halt and were able to approach the tired dog. They carried her on board and headed for Seattle.
“She was one scared and hungry pup,” said Golubic. “We fed her a sandwich and she slept for the whole two hours to Seattle.”
Luckily, Hope’s tags had stayed attached. A 3:30 a.m. phone call brought an end to the exhaustion, worry and grief of Betty Schmitz, the dog’s owner. “If she had been lost, a lot of hearts would have been broken besides my own,” said Schmitz, who is the director of the Curriculum Transformation Project in the College of Arts and Sciences. “The GEAR UP children gave Hope her name. She really represents their aspirations for college and success in life.”
In a thank you letter to Hope’s rescuers, the undergraduate students who serve as mentors in the GEAR Up program wrote, “Hope demonstrates how sometimes you have to go through adversity, but you can get through it and there are wonderful people in the world to help you when you need it.”
Everyone is happy that Hope was returned in time to greet the summer GEAR UP participants when they are back on campus July 9.
Schmitz offered a reward for Hope’s return, but the railroad folks declined. “We’re just glad there’s a happy ending to this story,” they said.
Story by Marilyn Kliman
June 21, 2001