Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes
John Hollenhorst reporting If you think your dog is tough, wait until you hear about a Utah County dog named "Tank". He survived 22 days and nights exposed to the elements under excruciating circumstances. And he lived to bark about it.
Tank looks pretty good on one side. On the flip side, there's evidence he had a pretty hard time; one leg is missing. The Barker family is starting to think of him as Tank, The Wonder Dog.
Tom Barker, Payson Resident: "He's like a hero dog now. He's like a hero now."
On January 28th Tank wandered away. The family searched. Called everyone. And prayed.
Jan Barker/ Payson Resident: "Then started praying that a good family had him, because we figured he wasn't coming back."
On the 22nd day, Tom Barker went looking on his motorbike, just a few hundred yards from home.
Tom Barker: "And I came down here, and I could see him when I was up there."
Tank's leg was caught in a home-made wire snare, probably set for coyotes or foxes.
Tom Barker: "He was happy to see me.. 'cause he was jumping up like crazy and barking at me. Then when I stopped he started licking me."
We found another snare, still set, just a few steps away. Whoever set them broke the law because he didn't put registration numbers on them or check them regularly.
J. Shirley/ Utah Wildlife Resources: "Somebody that sets a trap has to come back and check their trap every 48 hours. That's the law."
Here's what apparently happened to Tank's leg. It went through the snare, it tightened up. And I'll tell you, that hurts! The more you fight, the tighter it gets.
For 22 days, Tank was snared, through at least three snowstorms and temperatures down to 15.
Jan Barker: "It just makes us sick, knowing he's that close to home and we couldn't find him. We couldn't get him."
When they did get him back, his leg was badly injured. The vet gave a choice: amputate or put Tank to sleep.
Jan Barker: "It was a tough decision. But we thought, gosh! He deserves to live, if he has that much heart to live that long."
Tank is learning to get by on three legs, and one very big heart. He apparently survived by eating snow.
It's believed the snares were set many years ago.