This little story has everything — lost dogs, snow, mystery, love, determination, teamwork, social media and Geordie the wonder dog.
But crows are the real heroes of the story!
I had planned a quiet day of wrapping and baking. I have had the ingredients to make stollen bread for three years now, and not a single loaf has been produced. This year looks as if it might be year four, but I really don’t care.
The story started, as it often does, with a simple morning dog walk with Geordie. We were on our usual route when I saw a dog running towards us, off-leash. Geordie was very excited and I thought for a moment that perhaps it was a coyote. Once it got closer I could see it was a domestic dog, but very scared. Geordie, who assumes all dogs are his buddy, wanted to play and the ginger-coloured dog actually did let him get close enough for a sniff, before scooting off again. She did stay with us as we walked towards home and I was hoping I could lure her into our garden so I could read the tag on her collar.
Things went awry at Slocan and William, when something spooked her and she took refuge under a parked SUV. I couldn’t get her to come out, although she did eat a couple of treats I put near her. Not having an extra leash with me, and Geordie being beside himself with excitement, I decided to rush home with him and come back with a leash.
I drove back and the dog was still there, but definitely unwilling to budge. At that point I took this photo and put it on every social media platform I could think of.
Something scared her again and she took off. I saw her at the intersection of Slocan and Charles, amid a lot of cars and I braced for a horrible thud. Luckily none came, but by the time I got to the corner, there was no sign of the dog. Because of the cars in my line of sight, I couldn’t see which direction she’d gone from there.
There were, however, several crows in a tree, cawing angrily right there on the corner. That made me think that the dog might be hiding in the bushes that border the intersection, so I had a really good look around. No sight or sound of a dog. Maybe the crows were mad about something else.
At this point I was beginning to feel a bit dizzy because I hadn’t had breakfast yet, so I decided to drive home, have some oatmeal, and enlist Geordie in the search. Just as I was about to head out again I got a call from Desirée, who was part of a group of people who have been searching for this dog for forty long days and had got my number from all the social media sharing.
The dog’s name, it turns out, is Mika, and she had gone missing from New Westminster (a long, long way from our neighbourhood) in mid-November.
Desirée and I met up near where I last saw Mika and I could see that the crows were still cawing. This time I took Geordie up there and he seemed pretty excited about the bushes. After he sniffed at one spot for a while, I heard a very soft growl. I got down on my hands and knees, and very deep in the hedge, I spotted a flash of ginger fur.
I stepped back and called Desirée. By then a large group of other volunteers had appeared with all kinds of dog catching equipment. Apparently they had been this close to catching her before, but she was so scared she’d managed to escape.
This time we surrounded the hedge with blankets and — best of all — her actual owner arrived. (***Update — I’m told that the person who arrived was actually her original rescuer who had flow in from Taiwan! Even more amazing.***)
It was a tense ten minutes or so, but finally her owner managed to lure her close enough to get hold of her collar and she was safe at last!
I’m still not sure who all the dedicated volunteers were, but I think that they’re involved with rescuing dogs in Taiwan, and that Mika was one such rescue.
If I never end up making stollen bread again, I really don’t care. Seeing Mika back with her happy owner was far more delicious!
But honestly, if it had not been for the crows, I’m pretty sure she would not have been found today. The hedge was extremely dense and didn’t really look like a plausible hiding spot — but those crows are never to be fooled. Combined with Geordie’s sniffing abilities, we tracked her down!
So, next time you hear the crows making a terrible din, try not to get irritated with them.
It’s never about nothing.
I’ve seen some of the most amazing things (owls, racoons, coyotes … and now long lost dogs) by listening to what they’re on about.
Extra peanuts for the crows at Charles and Slocan next time I go by there. I may even give them some of the Cheezies I got as a special festive treat for Marvin and Mavis!
Geordie, the other tracking hero, has already received chew treats and much praise.
Thanks so much to all the people who spread the story on social media, to the great team of volunteers who showed up to find her, to Geordie for his sniffing prowess and, of course, thanks to the crows — who know everything single thing that goes on in our neighbourhood.
Merry Christmas, everyone!
PS You can read more about Mika and the volunteers who searched so tirelessly for her HERE.