After 22 days, a family of hikers and team of rescuers bring dog back home

LINN COUNTY, Ore. - It took 22 days and a whole cast of caring people, but a Scio couple has their best friend back.

Madison, a 10-year-old Bull Mastiff, was returned to Lori Davis and Patrick Milligan after a long, strange trip that spanned more than three weeks.

The beginning of the end came Saturday night at 7:45, when the Linn County sheriff's office got a call about a possible lost hiker in the Cascadia area.

When deputies arrived, they learned a family who'd been hiking along the South Santiam had found a weak, hungry dog about two miles off the road. The dog was in a steep spot with no easy way out, so the family had hiked out to call for help and then hiked back in to stay with the dog.

A deputy remembered seeing a poster for a dog with a similar description who had gone missing near Sevenmile Horse Camp on the 4th of July - 22 days earlier.

Later that night, a search and rescue team went out to make sure the family was OK, finally tracking them down at about 3 a.m.

Madison was OK too. He was weak and worn out, but the family had given him granola bars and dog food.

Then they put him in a sleeping bag to go to sleep.

The team decided to go back in the morning because the terrain was so difficult.

The crew showed up around 6:30 a.m., and carried Madison up a rock face, then back down the other side. Madison had to swim the creek as the group waded through waist-deep waters.

Finally, just before 9:45 a.m., Davis and Milligan got their best friend back.

Sheriff's deputies described them as "relieved."