FREDERICK, MD (WUSA9) - Thousands of people on the internet and up and down the Shenandoah River are sharing the story of Fergus the Dog.
The beautiful, rambunctious Chesapeake Bay Retriever was swept away in high water over Memorial Day weekend near Front Royal, Va.
His family in Frederick is convinced he's still alive... and they're desperate to bring him home. They say one of the best things you can do to help is to share his story. Fergus' family thinks he's still out in the woods near the river lost somewhere, or maybe someone has him who perhaps doesn't realize how important it is to get him back.
Big, goofy Fergus at a year old is not much more than a puppy, as eager to jump in your lap as jump in the water.
"Basically saw something bobbing in the river and just jumped right in after it," said owner Seth Cowan.
It was the Friday before Memorial Day. The Shenandoah River had swollen overnight and and the water was moving too fast even for a Chesapeake Bay Retriever.
"He tried to turn to come back to the bank, you could see his eyes were real big, and he was paddling really hard. But once he realized, he wasn't going to make it, his instincts kicked in, and he pointed his nose downstream and started swimming with the current," said Cowan.
He says his daughter's dog was gone in less than a minute. They searched the banks for hours. Maggie, 11, was inconsolable.
"Horror, panic, screaming his name, 'Fergus, Fergus.'"
Across the Shenandoah Valley, volunteers are looking for Fergus. The searchers include Lisa Jones of Full Tilt Tracking, who says her dog, Ruger, has Fergus' scent.
"We've been following sightings ever since, right now, I think we're up to about the seventh sighting on him."
Thousands of people have shared Fergus' story on social media. His family is no where near giving up hope.
"If anybody can help us, please," said Seth Cowan, his voice breaking. "This is my daughter's dog. It was a gift to her. It's breaking my heart to watch her go through this. I would really love to get my dog back."
If you see Fergus, the Cowan's say you can call them directly, (301)-706-2667.
Canine trackers say dogs can survive a long time scavenging in the wild, and even longer if someone has picked up Fergus and doesn't realize how desperately his family wants him back. He has a white blaze on his chest, and he has an ID chip implanted in his body too.
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