Eva, the small white dog that went missing June 29 from the scene of a horrific vehicle crash on Interstate 78 in Greenwich Township.
On July 16, Eva was spotted, nearly 3 miles to the south. A resident on Eagle Point Road in Maxatawny Township, reported a dog that looked like Eva was in her backyard just north of Kutztown.
Susie Olson and Diane Sereny, two of the founders of Berks Dog Search, came out but couldn't find the dog. They set some food out and told the homeowner to call if she saw Eva again. Olson said she was nearly back to her Fleetwood-area home when the homeowner called her, saying Eva was back.
For 18 days, the group — essentially a Facebook page run by volunteers who have know-how and experience recovering dogs — tried to lure Eva into one of its traps along Millcreek Road, on the opposite side of the interstate and close to where the fatal crash occurred in Greenwich Township.
Motion-activated spy cams three times caught Eva walking around the traps, eating food placed by volunteers, but refusing to go in the cage.
A fireworks display Friday night, July 12, near the interstate around the Berks-Lehigh County line probably scared Eva farther south, Olson said.
As often happens with stray dogs, she probably sought a quiet location, she said.
When Eva was sighted for a second time in the small neighborhood on Eagle Point, Olson and Sereny decided to go all in.
Sereny contacted the dog's owner, Lisa Winter of Auburn, Schuylkill County, who still wears a neckbrace as a result of injuries suffered in the crash that killed her husband and son.
Winter's son-in-law drove her and Eva's sibling, Angel, who was injured in the crash, to the Eagle Point Road site, about 4 miles from the crash.
Running after a dog head-on is foolhardy, Olson said.
"We know from experience in that situation — she didn't run away from home — that if she saw her mom, we might have a good chance," Olson explained.
Olson told her to walk around the backyard and calmly call Eva's name. Meanwhile, Olson and Sereny went up the long driveway in case Eva popped out of the tree line there.
By the time they retreated to the fenced yard, they saw two tails wagging outside the tree line — Angel and her sister Eva.
Winter was smiling.
"I would guarantee she heard her owner and walked out," Olson said. "Lisa was so happy, and Angel was there, too.
"Because of the situation, Lisa put her in the car, still wearing a neck brace, and I just gave her a kiss on the head and said, 'Go.'"
While the group is empathetic to all dog owners who have lost a beloved pet, the circumstance under which Eva, a 2-year-old American Eskimo, went missing are so tragic that the group had little contact with the family, Olson said.
"They had too much to do and the hurt and pain was ...," Olson said, trailing off.
Winter's husband, Nicholas, 56, and their son, Nicolas, 26, died in the crash when their Jeep Wrangler went down an 80-foot embankment after being struck by another SUV early on June 29.
Lisa Winter, 55, was taken to Lehigh Valley Hospital with serious injuries. A third dog in the car died of its injuries.
The other driver, Christopher A. Cornelius, 41, of Louisville was later charged with vehicular homicide. He's being held in Berks County Prison in lieu of $1 million bail.
Olson said Eva appeared well, but she hadn't heard from the family if she had lost significant body weight.
"I'm so happy I was able to bring her home last night," said Lisa Winter in an online exchange on July 17. "She is tired, but doing well despite being a house dog fighting for survival in the woods and farm lands in the Kutztown area for three weeks.
"Eva was my son's best friend and the loss of three of my guys — husband, son, and puppy named Zaki," she paused. "Therefore, finding Eva brings me some peace of mind and comfort through my grieving and recovery of my own injuries."
How Eva survived and where her journey took her is anyone's guess.
"We know we fed her three days," Olson said. "We don't know if she ate the other days."
If dogs could only talk, it would help with future searches, Olson said.
Her group's main weapons are social media, Wi-Fi cameras and printed fliers it distributes advising people to be on the lookout for lost pets.
Olson said the group's only funding comes from donations, and admits the organizers are not very good at it. She only admits people who are based in Berks to keep the group very local.
Only a small percentage of owners of recovered dogs give a donation, which can be made on its Facebook page using its PayPal account.
Although Eva was missing more than two weeks, her group has recovered dogs that were missing for more than three months.
It's safe to say that Eva's sojourn in the wilderness was full of adventure.
"That dog went through four torrential rainstorms, fireworks on the Fourth of July and last Friday and who knows what else," Olson said.
(Reporter Michael Yoder contributed to his story.)