The saga of Kronk, the missing husky who has roamed and rambled up and down and all around the San Francisco Peaks for going on 42 days, has at last ended.
Kronk, who bolted from his owner in early January on a family snowplay trip to Aspen Corner, was finally corralled Monday night during near white-out conditions in a trap near a homestead off Forest Road 418, near Potato Tank, where the resourceful husky had been pilfering food for days.
Happy to report that after nearly two months on the lam, Kronk seems not much worse for wear, according to Teresa Schumann, head of the Northern Arizona Animal Search and Rescue, which spearheaded the effort.
“If you look at him in the pictures we took,” Schumann said Tuesday, “he looks great because of his hair. But if you feel his back, you can feel his spine. So he’s definitely lost some weight. His paws look good but you try to touch them and he jerks them back. There’s probably a lot of tenderness there. But, really, come on, it’s incredible. He’s a beautiful animal.”
And, yes, Schumann confirmed, this is, indeed, the real Kronk.
Readers may recall the community hubbub two weeks earlier when the nonprofit rescue group had initial captured a husky everyone — including Kronk’s owner, Andrea Hyler, of Buckeye — believed was the missing dog. It turned out, though, that it was another, near identical husky, Daggo, who had been missing only a few days and found. It took a week at home for Hyler to notice that this dog was not neutered, as Kronk is.
But Monday night, after two Yavapai County professional trackers, Leann Weber and Katrina Karr, found Kronk in the large trap they set, it was confirmed. This was the elusive Kronk. For certain.
“Oh, we checked all right,” said Schumann, who kept Kronk in her home on Monday night after the rescue. “There’s nothing down there. My boyfriend and I were like, ‘Hold on a minute,’ and we lifted up his leg just to make sure. Nope.
“I think I’m still in shock he’s even here. We were sure last night. The wind’s blowing. He’s not going to go in. Conditions were terrible. Katrina and Leann said the wind was awful. And I’m thinking he’s going to hunker down; he’s not gonna come. They checked the trap at 8:30 (p.m.). Nothing. At 10:30, Leann went to check it and there he was. Katrina’s van got stuck, but they finally got it unstuck and loaded Kronk in there.”
Kronk, apparently, came willingly after finally being caught. But since January, he’s been a wily presence on the northwest side of the Peaks. Kronk sightings occasionally surfaced, near the Lava Tubes area and also on the mountain slopes. The rescue organization would mobilize and set traps to no avail.
The big break came five days ago when Schumann got a call from a resident named Andy who lives on a spread near Potato Tank east of where the Arizona Trail crosses FR 418.
“Andy said, ‘Your husky is at my house,’” Schumann recalled. “Andy free-feeds his dog, so he has a bowl of food out there all the time. Kronk was coming in, early mornings, eating the food and then going in the woods and hiding after that. We drove up there. He showed us the tracks. We set traps.”
Kronk, either too smart to fall for the traps or not yet ready to end his adventure, pretty much ignored the traps laced with food.
“That (first) night, Kronk ate all the food outside the trap, but when he got to the trap he’d stop and not go in,” Schumann said. “It was obvious our traps were too small.”
She called Karr, who assessed the situation and said a larger trap was needed. She and Weber set it up Monday before the sun storm arrived, then waited. Eventually, hunger must have lured Kronk into the spacious trap. The two women said he was docile and just a little skittish after being a lone husky for so long.
Hyler, Kronk’s owner, received a call from Schumann late Monday night. She and her husband drove up from Buckeye in the Valley Tuesday for the homecoming scene.
“I am so appreciative of the (rescue) organization,” Hyler said. “They never gave up looking for Kronk. It was never even and option for them. That’s some really difficult terrain they had to go into.”
As a welcome home present, Hyler said, she bought two new sturdy leashes, plus a harness, to keep Kronk from embarking on another wilderness adventure.