Dog Lost For 2 Weeks Discovered Tired But Alive In New Jersey Swamp

If you’ve ever had your dog escape a pen or run out the front door for even just a second, you know the sinking feeling that hits your gut when you realize your best friend might be lost.

So when Jim and Marie Zangara’s Golden Retriever, Chunk, went missing for two whole weeks, those 14 days and nights were excruciating.

Image: Facebook / Marie Puzio Zangara

Chunk Hits The Road

Chunk ran away on June 6 while enjoying some beachy fun with his folks in the seaside town of Barnegat Bay, New Jersey.

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Marie told that Chunk is “on the shy side” and that he probably got confused on a busy day with lots of people and boats in the area.

“He was running into the water to chase the toy and instead of returning he turned and ran off into a marshy area,” she said. “He normally likes to stay close to us.”

Over the course of the next two weeks, he was sighted multiple times by people who reported it to authorities. But Chunk was having too much fun to end his excursion and refused to come to the humans calling him.

Image: Facebook / Marie Puzio Zangara

Spotted And Rescued

Jim Mathis was in his fishing boat on June 22 when two joggers passing through the area reported seeing Chunk to New Jersey State Police. They tried to get Chunk to come to them, but he wouldn’t.

“They [hikers who first spotted Chunk] started waving at me,” Mathis told ABC7-New York. “I came close to him, and he kept trying to back away from the boat. Once I backed off, he started to swim toward land.”

Finally, with New Jersey State Police on the scene in their own boat to help, they were able to lasso the pooch and guide him to shore. Meanwhile, Mathis had a chance to check Chunk’s collar and notify the Zangaras that he was found.

A Long Two Weeks

Marie and Jim were naturally, and obviously, shaken by the whole ordeal.

Image: Facebook/ Marie Puzio Zangara

Marie’s thoughts were the same as many of ours would be if we lost our dog.

“Your mind starts to think, did he get hit by a car, in the woods dying?” she said.

“This past week has been tough,” Marie told after the rescue. “No one had seen him since the eighth day he was missing. I was worried maybe he had gotten hit by a car or was off in the woods where we couldn’t find him or someone had grabbed him.”

Reunited And It Feels So Good

And though Zangara said Chunk had lost almost 20 pounds and was covered in ticks, he was otherwise a happy, healthy boy.

The State Police were also glad to have helped and were excited to see Chunk reunited with his family.

In a Facebook post, New Jersey State Police said, “Needless to say, he was ecstatic to be reunited with his grateful owners.”

Chunk missing dog new jersey state police
Image: Facebook / New Jersey State Police

What If My Dog Goes Missing?

We have some tips for you if the unthinkable does happen and your doggo runs off, as well as things you can do to help bring them back home.

And don’t forget about the ordeal Chunk went through to get home, as well as another road warrior who was discovered 900 miles away from home. If they can do it, so can your canine.


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