EAST EARL TOWNSHIP, Pa. -- A Christmas miracle came a week early for the Diem family and their dog - Rudy.
The English Mastiff disappeared into the woods on Friday and didn't return until Monday. When Rudy returned he had a gunshot wound in the back and the head. Michael Diem, his owner, said Rudy is lucky to be alive.
"I'm a hunter and the places he was shot, a few inches different in placement, yeah he wouldn't be laying here on the couch."
Rudy's daily routine is to lie on his bed on the porch and watch over the house. Friday afternoon he disappeared. When Rudy didn't return at night, Diem went looking for him in the woods behind their house.
Diem said, "I was looking for a live dog. But as the days went on my hopes of finding him alive were less and less."
Rebekah Diem said on Monday afternoon she heard the jingle of his collar.
Rebekah said,"That sounds like Rudy, and then I looked up and there he was."
"I was crying. I cried I was so happy. I'd never been so happy to see this silly dog in all my life. He was...I was...I really thought I was seeing things because I thought I'd never see him again," she said.
That excitement turned to horror once she saw the bloody wounds. Although he was shot in the head and the back, Rudy is expected to survive.
Rebekah said, "He has become part of the family, and I don't know what we would do without him. We were lost for days when we didn't have him with us."
Michael Diem thinks the 120 pound dog's determination to come helped him survive.
"I think his willingness to survive. I guess he wanted to come home and he made it," Michael said.
The Pennsylvania Game Commission and the Lancaster County SPCA are investigating the incident.