One minute, an 8-pound bichon frise named Zoey was romping in her snowy backyard. The next, she was hanging from the talons of an eagle, soaring away from her Pennsylvania home.
Owner Monica Newhard was inconsolable when her brother, Felipe Rodriguez, told her the majestic bird had taken away one of the family's four dogs. Rodriguez, who was visiting his sister, was the only one home during the dive-bomb kidnapping.
Newhard told InsideEdition.com Thursday that she automatically assumed her 7-year-old, fluffy white lap dog was dead. "I went looking for my dog's remains, to be honest," she said.
Newhard combed the area around her home, as well as the woods and an area where she had observed an eagle nest months ago.
"Never in our wildest dreams did we think she would come back to us," she said of her beloved canine.
But return she did. A little worse for wear, but still her friendly, energetic self.
Here's what happened. While Newhard was posting photos of her beloved Zoey on Facebook and lamenting her loss, a bus driver and her aide stopped to investigate a while lump that appeared to be moving in the middle of snow-packed road.
The spot was four miles from Newhard's house.
Helper Christina Hartman got out to investigate and discovered a frozen, but alive, Zoey.
Hartman wrapped the pooch in blankets and took her home. She and her family warmed and dried the dog, fed her two bowls of warm soup, and tucked her in for the night. Zoey appeared disoriented, but slowly regained her bearings.
The next day, Hartman's daughter stayed home with dog, scouring the internet for any word of a tiny white dog that had gone missing.
She found Newhard's Facebook post. And after some to-and-fro on the Messenger app, a connection was made and Newhard drove over to pick up her dog.
"They were angels," Newhard said. "That's all I can say. They were angels."
She thinks Zoey must have gotten too heavy, and the eagle eventually dropped her. Zoey is a house dog and would have had no idea how to get home, Newhard said.
The pup is limping a bit, has some marks and bruises and lost a few toenails. But she is fully her old self and was running around in Thursday's snowfall.
Newhard said she won't let Zoey out alone again. She and her family live along the Lehigh River and hawks and eagles are common sights, she said. But she's never seen them attack a pet.
"I've seen hawks and eagles grab fish out of the water," she said. "But the river is frozen now, so it's only natural that they would be looking for other sources of food.
"Unfortunately, this time they chose my yard."