There’s an old, abandoned property near the town of Mossy in West Virginia. On that property is an old, abandoned dog house.
For a while, a dog named Sloth found refuge inside it while it seemed all of Fayette County in West Virginia searched frantically for him.
Days earlier, Sloth and his family had been driving home to Ohio along the West Virginia Turnpike. There was a car accident. Panicked, the dog fled from the wreck, scampering into the nearby woods.
"We learned about this the day after or maybe the evening of the accident and shared his pictures and tried to notify as many locals as possible to be on the lookout," Kathy Gerencer, a board member at the New River River Humane Society in nearby Fayetteville, tells MNN.
And so a massive dog hunt was underway, sparked — as it often is — by an all-points bulletin on social media.
"Word spread pretty quickly in our county and the surrounding area about Sloth — that he was missing and his family wasn’t from around here," Gerencer says. "And they were heartbroken about it."
For about a week, Sloth eluded them all. The devastated family had to return to their home in Ohio.
But not everyone packed it in. Local resident Ryan McClure kept returning to the area around Mossy. At one point, he peered into a seemingly abandoned dog house.
And Sloth growled backed at him.
The terrified dog, likely clinging to whatever semblance of a home he could find, wasn’t about to leap into the arms of a stranger.
"He called a friend of his to bring some treats or some dog food, you name it," Gerencer explains. "And he still wouldn’t come out. They ended up having to force him out. He was biting at them — scared out of his mind, poor thing."
But despite having foraged for himself for about a week, Sloth was little worse for wear — aside from being "a little skinny" and a lot traumatized.
Not long after that, Sloth’s family in Ohio got the call. He had been found. The mother came to pick him up. And that’s when Sloth — the scared dog who seemed so unsure of the world — simply melted.
In the video posted to Facebook, Sloth sobbed as he tried to curl up impossibly into his mother’s arms.
And those arms felt like home.