When David Hawkins' 4-month-old black lab mix, Harlem, ran off after being hit by a bicyclist, he was afraid he would never see her again.

Hawkins said he was walking with Harlem on Paris Mountain on Oct. 12 when a cyclist pushed the pair off a trail ledge.

"I tried to shield her and put her off the trail but she panicked and jumped right back in front of the bike," Hawkins said. "He hit her and just kept going."

Hawkins said the puppy began "screaming" in pain and bit him when he tried to pick her up before running off. Hawkins and his mother spent almost 9 hours combing the park for Harlem before he took to social media to ask for help finding her.

Hawkins' post received thousands of shares as people in the Upstate joined in to help search for Harlem. Dozens of volunteers joined Hawkins in a second day where he spent 14 hours continuing to look for the lost pup.

"It's a heartbreaking feeling to walk into your house and know that your baby is somewhere cold and afraid and a dark foreign place," he said.

With the help of the community, Hawkins was connected with nonprofit organization Black River Search and Rescue Inc. The donation-based nonprofit provides specially-trained bloodhound tracking dogs and travels to where they are needed to help reunite missing pets with their families.

On Oct. 15, Black River Search and Rescue brought in their dog team and scoured more than 8 miles of the state park for Harlem.

"Loaded with gear and expertly trained bloodhounds, they dove in like soldiers," Hawkins said.

The pack, led by Ginger, a bloodhound heading up the team, tracked Harlem through rocky terrain and park trails while proprietor Karl Allen and his team handed out photos of the puppy to nearby homeowners.

After nearly nine hours, Ginger alerted the team to a parking lot near where Harlem first fled and Allen's team was able to draw her out. Hawkins said the puppy was bruised, emaciated and covered in ticks when they found her.

"Harlem, exhausted and dehydrated walked directly into their arms," he said.

Harlem has received attention from a veterinarian and is now back with Hawkins, who credits Black River Search and Rescue for bringing her home.

"Without the direction and dedication from Karl's dogs and his team, Harlem would have never been found," Hawkins said. "They are angels and deserve so much credit."

Click here to donate to Black River Search and Rescue Inc.

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Executive Producer

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