Dog that ran from Shore car crash is reunited with family after long search effort

Jax reuniting with his family on Monday evening. (Image courtesy of Gabrielle McMillan)

Jax reuniting with his family on Monday evening. (Image courtesy of Gabrielle McMillan)

Jax is finally home.

The boxer-rottweiler mix ran from a car crash on Route 72 in Stafford that he was involved in with his owner, Gabrielle McMillan, 23, of Little Egg Harbor on June 24.

Authorities say Jax escaped from the car and ran into a secluded trail near the Manahawkin Bay Bridge, while McMillan was transported to an area hospital for treatment of undisclosed injuries. She has since been released and returned home.

With assistance from family members, local police and animal control, and other professionals, a massive search and rescue got underway nearly immediately after the crash, and Jax was soon spotted in a secluded area.

Stafford Township Animal Control advised the public that Jax was in “flight mode,” meaning that capturing him was extremely difficult. Trained personnel set out food and water for the dog, and night vision cameras captured Jax eating, drinking, and resting. Authorities said dogs in flight mode need time to relax and become comfortable.

“If it were as simple as going out there and getting him, that would have been done. When animals go into ‘feral’ or ‘flight’ mode, they don’t recognize their owner or name,” a family friend posted on a GoFundMe account formed for the dog’s veterinarian and grooming fees.

But on Monday evening, McMillan announced on Facebook that Jax was home and safe.

“Thank you to everyone who was so understanding and supportive through this,” she wrote. “We are just thrilled he is alive. He is going to get tons of loving and care.”

Jax reportedly entered an enclosure trap that was set for him. Jersey Shore Online reported that the dog is covered in ticks and would be taken to a veterinarian on Tuesday.

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