ASHLAND, OR (NBC) - Hallie, a 1.5 year old Akita /Dingo mix has a lot to be joyful about. She looked death into the eye and walked away virtually unscathed.
It all happened a week ago at Crater Lake National Park A couple from Ashland stopped at the North Junction scenic overlook.
"Seeing the lake for the first time we were just transfixed. I jumped out and I ran up to the cliff," Tobias Swanson recalls.
They momentarily marveled at the crystal blue water and pristine sunset... but nothing could compare to the horrifying image that happened right before their eyes.
"I saw black the Passat slowly, slowly, slowly coming to the edge and starting to roll," says Shauna McHugh. "It did a complete 180. It did a half moon arc"
It went into the only open area without a barrier.
"It was just an awful image that I hope gets out of our head one day," McHugh says.
"She went over half way down spinning and flipping and finally the door just exploded out and we see her get launched," remembers Swanson. "It was the most helpless feeling in the world."
McHugh agrees, "A human being would have never survived it."
But she's no human being and no average dog.
While the car had settled into the water, the rare and resilient albino Akita somehow emerged from the wreckage... and started charging up hill.
Swanson says, "A little white speck at the bottom of the volcano darting back and forth, going the wrong way. Going up one cliff and it's too steep then coming back up around to back up the other side."
Her impulse to reunite with her family just too strong. When she reached the top of the caldera, Hallie was battered and bloody.
The couple says in the face of such utter loss... they were overwhelmed by the kindness of strangers.
McHugh says, "There was a couple from Colorado that handed us cash. They said you have nothing, please take it."
An elderly couple even drove them three hours back to their home in Ashland.
Once home, their first visit: the vet.
"I mean we were just so happy to find out that nothing was broken, nothing was wrong inside," says McHugh.
Perhaps proof that miracles do, indeed, happen. And a lesson to us all to cherish each other each and every day.
The couple says they're also planning to retrieve their car from the deep lake.
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