A 20-year-old mare named Sadie was shot to put her out of her misery after a bloody 200-foot fall down a mountainside. But the real-life horse opera had a happy ending when the tough old thoroughbred overcame the accident and the bullet in her head, and she went home after a month in the wilderness. Sadie slipped on a trail and rolled down the steep slope during a pack trip to Jupiter Lake in mid-September with owner Janet Boling of Brinnon, Wash., her husband, Steve Boling, and a son. "She was cut everywhere and bleeding. Her left eye was swollen shut. We decided it was best to put her down," Janet Boling said, and a friend who hiked to the horse with her shot Sadie. About a week later, the Forest Service contacted her with reports of a horse wandering in the area, but it took about two weeks more, and a hiker's description, to convince her that it was Sadie. Finally, on Oct. 11, a rented helicopter flew Sadie home. Janet Boling said a veterinarian pronounced Sadie in good health except for weight loss, a swollen left knee and blindness in her left eye. Sadie has packed in her packing days and will now be just a pet for the Boling children, Philip, 7, Adam, 6, Jason, 4, and Melissa, 2.
--Sandra Slate says she is a heavy sleeper but that her brother awoke her by saying: "Get up. There's a big white box in the yard with a blinking light on top." The brother, Danny Lowery, said he had awoke to a roar that "just sounded like trains coming through" in Bratt, Fla. Slate said they thought at first that a plane had crashed because of downed power lines and tree branches, but the 10-by-6-foot white box turned out to be part of a NASA experiment for the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. It was launched from the National Scientific Balloon Facility in Palestine, Tex., to study chemicals in the atmosphere, said Betty Furman, a spokeswoman for the facility. It was supposed to land in an unpopulated area of the Florida panhandle.
--A Denver man proved it's all in the wrist when his watch stopped a bullet aimed at his head. Jose Chairez, 44, told police that he raised his arms for protection when a stranger pointed a pistol at him while he was out for a walk, and the bullet hit his wristwatch, lodging in his arm along with pieces of the timepiece. Chairez said three men began following him after leaving a bar, and one threw a beer can. He turned to face them and the revolver was fired. Chairez said the watch was worth its $270 price.