This is a letter from one of our clients to The Editor of “The Undercurrent” November 26th, 2010, The local Bowen Island newspaper.
Our beloved Riley, an 11-year-old pit bull-pointer cross, was terrified by repeated piercing whistles from our smoke detector during the power interruptions last Saturday evening. In his fright, he bolted and disappeared into the steep terrain surrounding our home in the Valhalla area. We were frantic when he hadn’t returned by midnight, with the temperature rapidly dropping.
After a sleepless night, we rose before dawn to find our old boy still missing. We criss-crossed the rugged hillside in semi-darkness, calling until we were hoarse, picturing Riley caught in a hole, with a broken leg, slowly freezing.
With flagging spirits, we decided to ask for advice from the Bowen Island Dog Ranch, where Riley has always received excellent care as a boarder and happy day-camper. Response from the Dog Ranch was amazing! Within minutes, owner Karen Munro took charge, posting the news about Riley on the Bowen Phorum and Facebook and contacting Iris Carr at CAWES (proper actions that hadn’t occurred to us).
Chris Buchanan, the Bowen dog control officer, also responded immediately, despite the early Sunday morning phone call.
Only a half-hour later, we were awed and appreciative when Dog Ranch owner Scott Munro, manager Jocelyn Cannem and their neighbour Tina Clark, of Tina’s Dog Grooming Studio, arrived at our home with their three magnificent shepherds – Rio, Nikita and Ulrick. What a top-notch team: Scott tracking uphill through the dense underbrush, Jocelyn traversing fallen trees like a gazelle, and Tina methodically combing the roadside ravines with Ulrick. All generously gave up their Sunday mornings to spearhead the search for Riley.
And, thanks to the efforts of these fabulous volunteers, this story has a happy ending. Flushed from his hiding place, Riley suddenly appeared out of the bush, no worse for wear for his overnight experience.
We are deeply grateful to Karen, Scott and Jocelyn of the Bowen Dog Ranch, to Tina of the Dog Grooming Studio, and to their respective four-legged trackers. These warm-hearted experts demonstrated extraordinary interest in our problem and delivered hands-on help when we most needed it. They are treasured friends for all dogs and dog lovers on Bowen – and true pillars of this community.
Gayle Stevenson and Michael Cornelissen