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Great Dane rescued from island finds forever home

Photo provided by the Clare County Animal Shelter Facebook.

In August, a Great Dane named Zaria ran away from her home in Harrison, and spent weeks stranded on an island on Cranberry Lake. Just in time for the holiday, the dog has found a new family and has been given a new name—Zara.

The fearful two-year-old dog needed a home with high fences and an experienced owner.

Beth Wellman, the owner of the Humane Society of Midland County, was the perfect fit.

On the day Zara escaped, Wellman said she saw a post online about the missing dog from her original owners.

Wellman says she tries to only keep dogs with no other options, and this seemed to be the case for Zara. Within 48 hours, she says Zara was more comfortable asking for attention, laying on the couch and going outside with her other four dogs.

“That quickly turned into her sleeping in the bed with me and the other dogs, being on the couch next to me, jumping around and just so excited when I'd get home,” Wellman said. She never once pottied on the floor, never once chewed up anything.”

Since her rescue, Zara has gradually gained 50 pounds and seems to be in good health, but Wellman says she is still a long way from trusting other people.

“She's just so happy that I could not break her heart or mind to make her go through that transition again,” Wellman said.

Jill Harrington is a senior at CMU majoring in journalism and minoring in theatre and interpretation. Jill grew up in Novi, Michigan and started reporting for WCMU in summer 2022.