Every year there are tragic stories of family pets going missing after becoming frightened by the Fourth Of July fireworks. For one family in Valdosta, Georgia, it was particularly tragic when their six-year-old dog, Judo also became a statistic of the fireworks, as the man had recently lost his wife and the mother of his two sons.

Rumley family interviewed about their tragic story

As reported by the Sacramento Bee, Will Rumley, who lives in Valdosta, Georgia, said he and his two sons returned home after celebrating the holiday to find their beloved German Shepherd, Judo, was missing.

Speaking to WCTV, Rumley explained this was the last thing they needed in their lives. He had recently lost his wife and the mother of two sons to a fatal brain tumor.

In an interview with WCTV Eyewitness News, Rumley said Judo is a member of their family and it was heartbreaking to find he was missing. However something amazing happened as the interview proceeded. While he spoke of the tragic loss of his wife, and now their beloved pet, suddenly Judo appeared. Rumley was explaining the dog wasn’t scratching at the door or anything, but at that exact moment, Judo just showed up and there he was.

Rumley exclaimed that it was “awesome.”

The whole family was shocked at Judo’s amazing timing. Rumley’s son, Ian, said Judo just ran up onto the porch and he thought for a moment he was hallucinating. The happy dog went on to greet the family with lots of wet kisses and happy whines. Ian added that he felt like a part of his heart had been put back into place that had been gone during the time Judo was missing.

Rumley shared the family’s excitement on his Facebook page. He spoke of the interview with WCTV, including a photo of Noelani Mathews, the lady who was interviewing the family. Rumley added that he was very glad the interview had a happy ending and told his Facebook followers to look out for Noelani, himself, his son Ian and Judo on the 6:00 p.m.


According to the ASPCA, one in five pets goes missing after becoming frightened by the noise of thunderstorms or fireworks. July 4th is one of the worst times for this to happen, as pets become terrified of the celebratory fireworks, with many families searching for their lost animals the next day.

Lowndes County officials say dozens of pets become strays over the Fourth of July holiday. Reportedly around 34 dogs and cats have ended up at the local animal shelter since Friday and officials believe the number will grow throughout the week. Officials recommend that anyone who has lost a pet should check with the shelter daily.