01/22/2013 08:30 pm ET

Maverick, 'Miracle Dog' With Severed Leg, Reunited With Frohling Family After Two Weeks In A Ditch (VIDEO)

A lost dog has been returned to its family missing one of his legs, but lacking none of his heart.

The Frohling family of Pernham, Minn., waited two weeks for their yellow lab to come home. According to ABC, the canine, now dubbed a "miracle dog," disappeared in December.

"I called for him to come back in and he wasn't there," Ryan Frohling told ABC.

Initially, Frohling and wife, Mara, feared the worst, the Pernham Focus reported. Scouring their rural neighborhood, they called and whistled, searched by car, put up flyers and called other residents -- but to no avail.

Twins Courtney and Quentin Frohling, 9, received the dog as a gift for their fourth birthday, and he'd often play chase or wrestle with 3-year-old Kaleb.

In a note to Santa, Courtney pleaded for his return.

"We love you Maverick," read a heart on her Christmas stocking. "Come home."

After 13 days of hearing nothing, the Frohlings received a phone call.

"There's a yellow lab that looks like it's been hit by a car," Ryan Frohling told ABC, recounting the call.

A motorist had spotted him in a ditch on a county highway and alerted a neighbor, who called the family.

Located less than a mile from the Frohlings’ house, the spot had been searched before, according to the Focus. But sure enough, the dog was hidden among deep snow and weeds.

Still alive but with a severed hind leg, the dog probably could not have survived much longer, ABC reported.

"A big part of it is right here, is his determination," William Rose of Lakeland Veterinary Clinic told ABC, adding that frigid temperatures, which slow circulation, also helped.

Now, he's back to going on short walks around the backyard, wearing a custom boot on one of his healthy legs.

"He's back to pretty much his normal personality that he had before," Mara Frohling told ABC.



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