A friendly black poodle with thick curly hair is resting comfortably at home with his family after surviving three nights and a massive rainstorm alone in the woods near a popular hiking trail on Port Moody's Eagle Mountain.
Guinness, who was wearing a red rain coat when he went missing Saturday (Nov. 13) became lost on a trail above the rural village of Anmore.
How he managed to survive from Saturday night through Tuesday (Nov. 16) during the one of the biggest rainstorms in recent memory is not exactly known.
But it appears that for several days the 50-pound beloved family pet was stuck in brambles, above a creek that was moving so fast and so high that it would have been dangerous to cross.
“He vanished, he just vanished,” said Karen Palmer, describing the terrible ordeal that started with a family dog walk up the Eagle Bluff South Trail not far from their Anmore home.
DRONES, TRACKING DOGS AND BACON
Palmer and her husband, Peter Ruben, struck out on Saturday before the heavy rains hit and they believe Guinness was following a group of dog walkers, when he became separated from the family.
Ruben said Guinness always returned when he called, but at some point the dog must have taken a wrong turn or simply got too far ahead to hear his call.
See below for the video.
After he went missing the family spent every hour trying to find him, searching the woods, contacting the neighbours and reaching out to a pet-finding company.
They also went door to door in the hopes of finding their beloved pet.
“It was very hard to think of him out there in that terrible terrible storm, we were scared for him but tried to stay hopeful that he would stay warm,” said Palmer.
With the help of their kids, the family flooded social media with details about their missing dog.
What unfolded was the magic of community and how people come together in times of distress.
“This is a story of Guinness surviving a 100-year storm but also how people helped in thoughtful and caring ways,” Palmer said.
Drones were offered to help with the search, strangers scoured the trails in the rain in the hopes of finding the lost pet.
Petsearchers brought out tracking dogs to look for Guinness and dozens of people provided love, compassion and advice on Facebook.
One man even cooked bacon in the area where Guinness went missing in the hopes of luring the dog out of the woods.
BARKING SOUND ALERTED MOUNTAIN BIKER TO MISSING PET
But no one could find the pet who was somewhere in the woods near the power line, hunkered down in the brush and probably trying to stay dry.
It wasn’t until the weather cleared on Tuesday afternoon that there was some good news.
The sound of a dog barking alerted Reno Koeleman, an avid mountain biker, trail builder and member of the Tri-Cities Off Road Cycling Association (TORCA).
Koeleman, who took off on his bike up the trails as soon as the weather cleared Tuesday knew about the missing dog and thought he heard barking while riding down a route called McTrail.
“When I first heard the dog and called his name, the dog was barking constantly. [But] when I called his name, he barked twice and stopped, I tried to get him to come towards me or to see if he was stuck. It seemed like he wasn’t moving.”
Koeleman abandoned his bike against a power line pylon, climbed down a ditch, crossed the rushing Mossom Creek, and back up onto an embankment full of brambles toward the dog.
Fortunately, Guinness appeared to be OK and he was calm enough to allow Koeleman to approach.
Then it was a matter of trying to figure out how to leash the pet; an inner tube he had in his backpack proved to be workable for the emergency.
Off the two went, back through the creek, which Koeleman described as a bit “sketchy” then back up the embankment to his bike.
The whole ordeal took about an hour and Koeleman was back walking and riding through Anmore with Guinness at his side.
In fact, Guinness was so comfortable he insisted on lifting his leg at his familiar spots, a good sign, thought Koeleman.
“He was in really good shape for having been out in the forest by himself and living through all that rain,” Koeleman told the Tri-City News.
A doorbell camera caught an image of a man on a mountain bike leading a black poodle. “Is that Guinness,” asked Matthew Campbell when he sent the video to the family.
Informed via Petsearchers that Guinness had been found, the family met up with Koeleman at the Sasamat volunteer firehall.
Koeleman, a Port Moody resident who has built trails in the area and will now be known as a dog rescuer, is called an angel by the family.
However, the seasoned cyclist and long-time TORCA volunteer says he’s happy everything worked out OK.
“It’s nice to be able to put someone’s mind at rest and, whether it’s a pet or a person, get them back to their proper spot.”
As for Guinness, Palmer says he’s doing well at home, none the worse for his travails.
“Guinness was just his normal self, barking and his tail wagging, he was happy to see us as we were to see him.”
- with a file from Kyle Balzer, Tri-City News