Little Dash Lost

 

A True Tale of Love and Perseverance

 
 

Dash came to our pack unexpectedly in December of 2011.

 

If someone had told me, even a couple of months prior, that my pack would be welcoming a new member I would have insisted that would not be happening, especially not a non-Sibe.  Spirit, Mira and I had ourselves a tight-knit little pack that had grown extremely close due to events of the past year.

 

It was mid November when a friend and work colleague, Jenn, brought to my attention the dilemma that one of her husband’s co-workers was facing.  Due to circumstances in his life he was faced with finding a new home or homes for his two Entlebucher Mountain Dogs, Dash & Daisy. They had been with him for six plus years, ever since they were puppies.  Having recently faced a possible similar situation, with Spirit & Mira, I felt I needed to help this fellow and his two four legged family members.  So, I offered for Jenn to have her husband, Tony, give this fellow my contact information so I could talk with him.

 

My original intention was to explain the situation I had gone through and advise that he should not give up Dash & Daisy, as I was so thankful that I had not made that decision with Spirit & Mira and if I had I would have regretted it for the remainder of my life.  I was even willing to take the two dogs for a period of time until he could get back on his feet once again.  But, the decision had been made and in fact he had found a home for Daisy, but the lady adopting her was unable or unwilling to take both dogs.  I expressed my concern about the bond between Dash & Daisy, since they had been together all their lives, but he did not seem to think this was a concern.  I was then informed that if he did not find a home for Dash within two days he would have to be taken to the Humane Society.  I did not want that to happen, so I offered to foster Dash until a new suitable home could be found by either the owner or me.

 

I had Dash for ten days, in which time he redecorated my pine kitchen cupboards and did some drywall remodelling in one of the spare rooms in the basement.  You see, I had left Dash in the house while I was at work, thinking he could not handle the cool temperatures outside with Spirit & Mira.  He clearly did not like to be left on his own and I would soon find out cool temperatures were of no concern to this little fellow.  This will become clearer as the story plays out.  The renovations aside, Dash was also starting to gain a hold on my heart.  He is a very sweet and very affectionate boy and, unlike my Sibes, would do anything I asked, the first time.  For those not familiar, Sibes when asked to do something, like to talk things over and negotiate “What’s in it for me?  Are you sure you want me to do that?  I don’t really feel like doing that right now, maybe later!”  So, it was unusual to for me to have Dash do everything I asked without even having to resort to using my “I am telling you not asking you” voice, if you know what I mean?

 

Now, don’t get me wrong, I love my Sibes, and their independent nature is one of the qualities that attracted me to the breed.  I recall reading or being told that this independence or unwillingness to follow blindly the commands or wishes of their master was a desirable trait for a sled dog.  For if you were running a team of dogs and found it necessary to cross a body of frozen water and the dogs instincts told them it was unsafe to do so, you would not want a team of dogs that would follow  blindly the commands of their musher, who may not know any better.

 

During that ten day period, a fellow from work, Jim, came forward to inquire about Dash.  He had shared his life for thirteen years with a Border Collie, whom had passed some four years earlier.  I thought Jim and his family would be a good match for Dash, as his energy level and herding instincts are very similar to that of a Border Collie.  I dropped Dash off on Wednesday evening and checked back on Thursday to make sure everything was going okay, which it was.  Then on the morning of Friday, December 2nd I was at work when I received an e-mail, around 10AM, from Dash’s new home saying he had escaped out the front door of their house about 7:45AM and was nowhere to be found.  I asked to leave work immediately and headed over to Jim’s house to assist in the search for this little dog lost in the big city…

 

I spent the first couple of hours wandering the immediate neighbourhood of Scenic Acres; while Jim ran some errands he needed to attend to, prior to going to work that evening.  No sign of Dash.  A lost report was filed with the City of Calgary Animal Services and the Calgary Humane Society and I also contacted all the Animal Clinics in the area.  I enlisted the help of my friend Jenn, who was still at work, to put together a simple flyer, so I could print copies to hand out to assist in my search.  I spent the remainder of the afternoon searching open spaces and a ravine area in Scenic Acres and talking with anyone I came upon and handing out my flyers.  As it was turning to dusk, at around 5PM, I spotted a UPS truck and decided to ask the driver if she had seen Dash during her rounds.  She had, about 3PM she had seen him in the Silver Ridge area and had tried to coax him to her, with no luck.  This neighbourhood is some distance away and on the other side of a busy thoroughfare.  I was relieved to know he had made the crossing safely.  I went immediately to this area and searched until it was too dark to be able to see a little black dog.

 

The temperatures for that night would drop to -9oC with a wind chill of -14oC, Dash was for the most part an indoor dog and his short fur coat would not be much protection in these frigid temperatures.  Both these neighbourhoods, Scenic Acres and Silver Springs, are on the ridge that overlooks the Bow River valley in Northwest Calgary.  It seemed every third person I met during my search told me of the abundance of coyotes that inhabit the river valley and that quite often wander into the neighbourhoods.  These were to say, at the least, not very comforting thoughts as I drove away to go home to care for Spirit & Mira, pleading for Dash to be safe and promising that I would return first thing in the morning to find him.

 

On my drive home I was very distraught in wondering “What had I done to this sweet little dog?”  Emery, Dash’s former owner, had trusted me to find a home for his dog and what had I done, placed him in a home that he ran away from and would we ever see him again?  Incidentally, I had called Emery earlier in the day to let him know Dash was missing.  I also received two phone calls on my way home.  The first from my friend Jenn, requesting that I take the following day off work, which I probably would have had to do anyway, and assuring me that she would be out to help in the search at daybreak.  The second came from my boss, Justin, who also suggested I take the following day off work and inquired as to where Dash had last been seen.  I found out the next day that he and his wife had gone out that evening to look for my missing boy.

 

When I arrived home in my distressed state of mind I decided I needed some help in my search for Dash.  Let me say, I do not consider myself a particularly spiritual person, but I did feel I could use some help from those in a higher place.  I placed a call to my friends Sharon and Mark Starmer, who live a few kilometers up the road from me, here south of Bragg Creek, AB.

 

I had the good fortune of being introduced to Sharon and her husband Mark a few months earlier when I needed some assistance in the care of Mira after she had undergone ACL surgery.  The circumstance of our meeting is another long and fate/coincidence filled story that I will spare you at this time.  Mark is the author of a fascinating series of books “Some Dogs Are Angels” [a link to their website is provided on the Links & Resources page] in which he tells his and Sharon’s ever-evolving story and their lives with Dogs/Avatars.  I don’t yet fully understand all the concepts Mark writes about in his book, but it is a very interesting read. The book gets very strange in places and Mark & Sharon both freely admit this fact.  You see, Mark is guided in his life and is a channel for an Archangel named Michael.  If you have the opportunity to read the book you will better understand why I placed my call to Mark and Sharon, seeking their help to find Dash, as well as the end result of this saga.  I spoke with Sharon and explained the situation and she graciously offered to approach Mark to inquire of Michael for any insight into the whereabouts of my little fellow.  She promised to call me back with any news.

 

Within the hour I received a call from Sharon with the news that Mark had been able to contact Michael.  Michael was not able to provide any information regarding Dash’s whereabouts but did offer some insight and advice.  He imparted that Dash was very unhappy in his new home and was missing Daisy terribly and thus had left to find her.  Michael went on to say that Dash was working on his own ‘Free Will’ and would not be found unless he wished to be,  that I may look for him but it would be like ‘looking for a needle in a haystack’ and that it would be best if I just waited for him to turn up at some point.  He also mentioned that if it was indeed Dash’s time to transition, that is to take the next step on the Ascension Pathway, that I was not to worry he would return in some form.  Again, reading Mark’s book would make some of these statements much clearer.  Michael also wanted me to know this was not my fault, not to blame myself and that I had done everything I could to help this little dog.

 

Not exactly the news I was hoping to hear, but I respected the source.  I could not just wait for Dash to turn up, I did not feel I had done all I could, so I prepared and printed off some new flyers to hand out the next day.  I went to bed for a fitful sleep asking Rocky & Belle, my two Sibes that had crossed the Rainbow Bridge a few years earlier,  for their help  in my efforts as well.  It was at this time that I promised Dash that when I found him he could spend the rest of his life with us at Husky Haven.

 

************

  

Jenn, as promised, met me at daybreak on Saturday and we resumed our search in the Silver Ridge area.  I had also enlisted the help of Spirit & Mira who came with us.  I hoped that if Dash saw or scented them he may be more interested in coming when called.  Walking the river valley pathways, talking with anyone we saw and passing out flyers, I soon received a phone call from a fellow who had seen Dash the previous evening at about 7PM on Silver Ridge Drive.  He had tried to lure Dash using his dog, but without positive results.  He then called Calgary Animal Services who also had no luck convincing Dash to them.  Dash had run off into the river valley.  This fellow also told us that a neighbour down the street had left a blanket and some food out on her step overnight.  It is good to know there are caring people out there.  Jenn, myself, Spirit & Mira concentrated our search in this area and were joined after lunch by Jenn’s husband Tony.  Jim and his wife Kathy were also out searching.

 

As the afternoon went on Jenn and Tony had to leave due to other commitments, I kept searching with Spirit & Mira, after getting some more flyers printed at a nearby UPS Store.  As the afternoon sun faded to dusk we made one more pass along the ridge in Silver Springs and got caught in a blinding snow storm on our way back to my Jimmy.  As darkness fell, I stood in the snow storm overlooking the river valley and once again wished Dash a safe night and promised to return at daybreak.  Dash had now been missing for over 34 hours and temperatures that night would again fall to -8oC with wind chills of -14oC and reported snowfall of 15cm [6 inches], although it seemed like much more.

 

When I arrived home I had a phone message from Sharon and an e-mail from my friend Eileen, in Ontario, both were oddly similar.  Both suggested that I may want to get Daisy, Dash’s former companion, involved in the search.  I immediately called Emery to see if he could inquire about getting Daisy to come out and assist the next day.

 

Spirit, Mira and I hit the sack absolutely exhausted; I could only imagine how tired and frightened little Dash was, wherever he was!

 

************

 

Sunday morning greeted us with the snow still falling.  Mira and I made it into the city at daybreak.  Spirit was left at home as it was just too difficult to speak to people with other dogs and try and keep both he and Mira under reasonable control.  Sorry Spirit!

 

I restarted my search at the east side of Silver Springs, in an area called Bowmont Park Natural Area.  It was my theory that Dash may still be moving east along the river valley.  The snow finally stopped and the sun came out by late morning.  It was tough slogging through the new snow for both Mira and I.  As we walked the ridge in Bowmont Park we could hear the coyotes yipping in the valley, I hoped Dash had not met up with them.

 

At about noon I got a call from a fellow that said he had seen Dash near the Twin Arenas, which was back in Scenic Acres, during the snow storm Saturday evening, around 6PM.  Again he had no luck in getting Dash to come to him.  This sighting was supported by another call later Sunday afternoon from a lady that saw him around the same time, in the same vicinity, trying to cross the major thoroughfare, Nose Hill Drive, which separates the two neighbourhoods.  He once again made it safely.  Another relief!

 

Immediately I headed back west to Scenic Acres and thought I would resume by searching the ravines I had been through on Friday afternoon.  I had just started walking when I got a call from Jim who had seen Dash dashing through a walkway between two houses headed to a green space that runs along the west side of Scenic Acres with Stoney Trail adjacent.  Of course, Dash had no intention of answering Jim’s calls to him.  Now, Stoney Trail is a major highway, which thankfully is separated from this green space by a six foot chain link fence.  I jumped back in the Jimmy and raced to Jim’s location.

 

Dash was nowhere to be seen.  Mira and I started walking the area and calling his name, but no sign of the little black dog.  I came across a lady walking her two dogs about 2PM who, when I showed her Dash’s flyer, told me “Oh yes, he came up to me about 10 minutes earlier, gave my dog hell, and then ran off!”  I was so close!  It did not hit me until later that evening; one of her dogs bore a resemblance to Daisy.

 

Soon afterwards I received a call from Emery with news that Daisy was not available to help in the search.  Her new owners had gone to the west coast for a holiday and had taken Daisy with them.(1)  This was a blow, but I knew it was up to me to find this little guy.  I would not be deterred.

 

I walked and called until the sun once again disappeared over the western horizon.  The temperatures were dropping and Dash would have to endure the coldest night yet.  Overnight temperatures would drop to -12oC with wind chills of -18oC.  It had now been over 58 hours.  Once again I wished him a safe night with the promise to return.

 

************

 

Monday morning started off with another visit to the UPS Store to print more flyers.  I must have posted and passed out close to a hundred over the past three days.  Then it was back to the place Dash had last been spotted on Sunday afternoon.  I was on my own, as I left Mira at home to provide company for Spirit, thinking I may have overworked her leg over the past two days.  She was still recovering from her knee surgery in September after all.

 

I would later learn that Dash had been spotted about 9AM, curled up in the snow and long grass under a large pine tree along the bike path that parallels Nose Hill Drive.  Again, when approached he ran off.  I had driven right past that area on my way to the UPS Store, but had not noticed him.

 

It was a bright, sunny and cold morning and I walked along the embankment that separated the green space from Stoney Trail calling Dash’s name and being amazed I still had a voice left to call.  I once more felt I needed to ask for help from a higher place.  It was approximately 10AM.  Stopping on the ridge, I closed my eyes and softly pleaded out loud, “Michael….. Dash is not going to find Daisy.  He needs help.  I can give him the help he needs and provide him with a good home.  Please let Dash find me?”  As I watched the fog of my breath disappear in the cold morning air, I hoped my pleas would be heard.

 

There is a pedestrian tunnel that goes under Stoney Trail that leads to a large ravine to the east of the neighbourhood of Tuscany.  Although I had been through the tunnel on a couple of occasions over the previous days, I did not walk up the ravine in my search.  I thought I would give it a more thorough look.  But, before doing so I needed to go back to my vehicle to get a note pad, in the event I got a call with more information about Dash. 

 

It was 10:30AM when I walked the pathway between two houses to the green space. The same pathway Jim had seen Dash run through the previous afternoon.  I came into the green space looked south to see silhouetted against the morning sun the figure of a dog coming over the crest of the hill.  Could that be Dash?  I softly called his name, “Dash”.  By the perked set of his ears I knew it was him.  As he tentatively drew closer the flash of his white chest confirmed it was indeed my little Dash.  I could hardly hold in my excitement, but I wanted to be cautious.  I certainly did not want him to run off.  I sat down in the snow, removed my toque and softly coaxed him to come to me.  It took what seemed like forever, but was probably no more than a few minutes, for him to come close enough to recognize me.

 

He launched himself into my face and started lavishing me with licks.  At one point I thought he was going to break my nose.  I have rarely been so happy or thankful in my entire life…. Tears of joy ran down my face, which Dash proceeded to ravenously lick off.

 

As the two of us rolled crazily around in the snow in our joyful reunion, a lady came walking by.  She must have wondered what was going on between this tearful grown man and this jumping, quivering and excited little dog.  I explained what had transpired over the past few weeks and days, to which she commented “It looks like you both got early Christmas presents, each other!”  The whole situation was surreal, like a scene from the end of a Disney movie.

 

I quickly checked Dash over for injuries, there appeared to be none, no frost bite and in amazing condition despite his 75 hour ordeal.  He was drenched in sweat, like a thoroughbred horse at the end of a long race.  We made our way back to the Jimmy and off to his new forever home.

 

What has brought Dash and I together I still have yet to discover, but I am confident it is for the higher good of all of us at Husky Haven.

 

               

                                        

                                                               

 

"You can't change the world by saving one dog,

but be assured the whole world will change for that dog."

 

************

 

Words cannot express my thanks and gratitude to everyone that helped me reunite with my ‘Little Buddy’ Dash.  Jenn [who never doubted I would find Dash] and her husband Tony, Jim and Kathy, my rock over this past year and long time friend Eileen, this man’s best friends my wonderful Sibes Spirit & Mira, my boss Justin and his wife, my co-worker Claude and his dog Chloe, my Veterinarian Dr. Susanne Imorde [whom I learned was out searching over the weekend], my neighbour Patrick Ancelin [who was also out searching Monday morning], John at the UPS Store [for giving me a break on printing costs], to all those kind and concerned individuals that listened to my and Dash’s story and kept a vigilant watch out and called with sightings, Mark and Sharon Starmer [I implore everyone to read Mark’s books] and last but by no means least, Archangel Michael “I Thank You for helping Dash find me.”


************

Footnote:


(1) I was years later to find out that Emery had never attempted to contact the family that had adopted Daisy; that they and Daisy were in Calgary the whole time Dash was missing and would have been more than willing to help in the search for Dash.  Emery had lied!  


It was 3 1/2 years later I was contacted by Brigitte,the lady that adopted Daisy.  Up until that time neither of us had been given any information on how to contact the other member of this Entle pair.  Brigitte had viewed Dash's sledding videos on YouTube which led her to this Husky Haven website where she was able to make contact via e-mail and after 3 1/2 years, in May of 2015, Dash and Daisy were reunited for a visit.  Hopefully the first of many.


The Reunion

It makes me so happy to know that Daisy is in a very loving home and I believe that both her and Dash, although separated, are far better off in their new lives.

 

 
 

Sibes Are My Life…

                                                       ^ and One Very Special Wanna Be Sibe

Subpages (1): Dash Adventure Map