Dog missing for three weeks in freezing cold returns home to family's porch

A 4-year-old miniature dachshund is home after being missing for three weeks in below-freezing temperatures.

KARE reported that Matt and Mandi Rademacher were with their child and three dogs, including longhair dachshund Oliver. They were unwrapping presents on Christmas Eve in their home in Norwood Young America, Minnesota.

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Oliver was let outside at some point to relieve himself, but fireworks were going off in the neighborhood and scared him away.

"He's deathly afraid of fireworks, and I didn't see him, so I immediately panicked and started running around, looking," Matt Rademacher told KARE. "I was probably out looking (for him) until three, four in the morning. Got a couple hours of sleep and went right back out the next day."

After days went by with no sight of Oliver, The Retrievers stepped in. The nonprofit is made up entirely of volunteers and helps find lost dogs.

“It got down to minus 15 a couple nights, really, really cold snaps, and one night it even rained,” Matt Rademacher said. “It's like, well, he’s a long-hair. If he gets wet and it's that cold, what are the odds of him surviving?”

Matt Rademacher told KARE he set up Oliver's kennel out on the porch. He put some of his own clothes and some of Mandi Rademacher's clothes in the kennel, as well as Oliver's food dishes and blankets, and checked the kennel multiple times a day.

Three weeks after going missing, another one of Matt Rademacher’s dogs was let outside to relieve itself when it was startled by Oliver. He was curled up in the kennel that was set out for him.

“You just kind of lose hope after so long,” Mandi Rademacher said. “You know the elements of where you live, and when it gets to be as cold and as yucky as it was, you just kind of lose hope, and then he shows up and it's like, ‘Oh my gosh, he’s here, but is he really here?’ Kind of disbelief.”

The Rademachers, who recently welcomed their second child, now say their family is complete.

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