Bandit, The Lost Labrador Survived In The Woods For Over a Year

It was autumn when Bandit the black Labrador made his escape from the vet. He left Gardiner, New York, and traveled 10 miles until he deciding that the marshy woods near Walden were the perfect spot to settle down. But Bandit was not a stray! He had a family that kept looking for him. One and a half year later, someone spotted the dog and contacted a rescue shelter.

Bandit still had his collar that his family bought him. Here’s how he was finally caught and brought home…

20. October 2016

On 8 October 2016, Bandit escaped an animal clinic and his family has never seen him since. The pooch went on an adventure and settled into the woods, where hunters discarded animal carcasses. One day, a woman saw him…

19. Living Under the Radar

Bandit was seen only a few times, but last month a woman saw him, noticing the collar. She called Buddha Dog Rescue and Recovery (BDRR) and talked to Nicole Asher. But before that, she tried to do this.

18. Setting Traps

At the beginning of February, the woman, Tab Calvitti, spotted the black dog near the forest and tried to lure him. He was skittish, so she couldn’t get him. Then she asked for help at the BDRR. They then set traps and enclosures to capture the dog…

17. They Set Up A Surveillance Camera

Nicole Asher said that they ‘went and set up a trap and surveillance camera in the woods immediately’. She was very curious about the dog’s identity, and if he had a collar, it was a matter of time they found his family too!

16. He Had a Collar and a Family

Asher said that ‘when I heard he was wearing a collar, I couldn’t wait to find out who he really was and where he came from. I was hopeful we could reunite him with his family’. Little did she know she’ll get heartbreaking news…

15. Capturing Lost Dogs

Bandit was seen on the surveillance camera for days. Asher is a specialist when it comes to capturing lost dogs. She returned every day to bring food, toys, and bones to trap Bandit, but he was resilient. Then they did this.

14. Days With No Luck

Days went by and Bandit would not get into the cage. So, Asher came with a large enclosure in which she placed treats to lure the pooch. ‘He was very skittish, so everything new we’d introduce to his area would spook him’, said the woman.

13. Checking the Area

In five days, the dog started to cross over the enclosure. Buddha Dog Rescue wrote in a Facebook post that Bandit took ‘baby steps over that threshold’. He was a playful dog, continued writing the post…

12. A Source of Amusement

‘Watching his antics on video were a constant source of amusement. He would chase the critters away from his enclosure,’ said the post on Facebook. And when raccoons or foxes came to sniff his food, he took a stand!

11. This Pooch Is a Goofball!

Bandit loved to ‘play with toys that we left for him and play bow and do his little playful dance in front of the enclosure.’ And whenever the critters would come to steal his food, ‘He’d stand there barking with his chest puffed out and tail high’.

10. The Dog Won!

‘He was always so proud that he chased them off. You could tell he was such a character’, said Asher when she recalled how Bandit acted in the woods. At the end of March, the pooch would finally hop inside the enclosure!

9. Time to Collect the Black Lab

Asher immediately came to get the dog, who they nicknamed Wally. When they captured him, they saw his name was Bandit and that he had a family. Asher was so happy that she immediately called the family to tell them the good news! But she found out this…

8. Phone Number on The Name Tag

Asher called on the phone number that Bandit had on his name tag: ‘I immediately called the family, they were in a state of shock and the first words out of their mouths were ‘omg he’s alive!’’ but the family didn’t want him anymore…

7. No Longer Wanted

Although finding your dog after so much time is a blessing, this family appears to have changed ‘their lifestyle’, Asher said ‘and they just couldn’t take him. They surrendered him to us right away.’

6. The Right Living Conditions

‘Apparently this wasn’t the first time he’d ran away for a long period of time, either’, said Asher. And the family didn’t have a fenced yard, fearing that Bandit will try to escape again. Moreover, he became a little feral…

5. Bandit Had to Be Rehabilitated

The family believed that the best life for Bandit would be with someone who can work and rehabilitate him back as a pet. Bandit received shelter at the Ramapo-Bergen Animal Refuge, where he was checked by a vet.

4. The Dog Was Healthy

Thanks to the unwanted deer carcass that was in the forest, Bandit was not skinny. However, his behavior was a bit on edge: ‘Living out in the woods he was always on the lookout,” Asher said. “If so much as a twig snapped, he knew it,’ said Asher.

3. Living on His Own

Bandit spent half of his life gaining food on his own, said Asher. She knew ‘it’s going to take a lot of time to get him used to being in a home again.’ But he was going to get tons of love and training to learn it.

2. A Lot of Effort

It took a lot of time and effort to get Bandit out of the woods, but Buddha Dog Rescue said that bringing ‘this boy to safety’ was worth it. He will soon be able to show his silly and lovable side once he gets more confident around people.

1. Bandit’s Amazing Adventure

‘His story is amazing and I think he’s given a ton of people hope who have lost dogs out there,’ said Asher. And to all dog owners out there, train your pooches to never venture too far and have your yards fenced to keep safe all the puppies with a taste for adventure!

Related posts:

  • About Author

    Jessica Aguero

    Jessica Aguero is a content marketing professional at, a lifestyle and pop culture community that helps people stay in touch with trends. Previously, Jessica wrote content for several magazines and websites. She graduated with honors from Columbia University with a dual degree in Business Administration and Creative Writing.

  • Advertising

  • Advertising