Dec 30, 2010 1:21 AM by Danielle Lerner

Orcutt dog missing for ten days returns home

A happy homecoming in Orcutt. A young dog is reunited with it's family after spending more than week lost in the wilderness.

A Labrador Retriever named Otto was missing for ten days before he was reunited with his family in Orcutt Tuesday.

On December 18 five friends went hiking in Upper Lopez Canyon. Otto was with the hikers and jumped into a flooded stream. His owner, Ethan Brown, dove in after Otto and was nearly swept away himself. Otto disappeared downstream and the hikers had to be rescued. The Brown family says a rancher in the Santa Margarita area found Otto Tuesday.

"The only thing I could really think of was I gotta get my dog, gotta get my dog, gotta get my dog," those were the words racing through Ethan Brown's head when he dove into a raging stream after his beloved dog Otto. The ordeal left him with scrapes, bruises and mild hypothermia.

"I was just really worried about my dog," Brown said. "I didn't care what happened to me."

Soon the hours without Otto turned to days.

"My heart had been broken so many times I was just losing hope like crazy," said Brown.

That is when Pam Brown became a mom on a mission.

"I have two boys that are extremely close to Otto and it was really important to me, as a mom, to get their dog back for them," she said.

She started a Facebook page, canvassed the area where Otto disappeared and alerted the media. Those efforts paid off when a rancher near Santa Margarita discovered the dog wandering his property.

"I was so excited I started crying but more than anything I was excited for my sons," said Pam Brown.

Still Otto did not emerge from the ordeal unscathed.

"He has pneumonia he swallowed a lot of water," said Brown. "He was covered in ticks, we've pulled off at least 100 ticks."

With some TLC and regular meals Otto should make a full recovery, and the Browns say they have no problem doing just what the doctor ordered.

"He's more than a dog he really is part of the family," said Ethan Brown.

"I can't imagine this family without Otto," said Pam Brown.

This is not Otto's first brush with danger. During his short year-and-a-half he has survived eating a box of rat poison, and eating five pounds of jelly beans last Easter. The Brown family says it's relieved and elated that Otto cheated death once again.

The Browns also want to thank everyone who helped search for Otto or even just spread the word about their dog. They credit the community with helping to bring Otto home.

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