WATCH: We’re hearing from the two Good Samaritans who came to the aid of an emaciated husky. Last weekend, the pair came upon “Willow” starving and alone in Maple Ridge. Jill Bennett reports.
VANCOUVER – One of two Good Samaritans who found a severely emaciated dog near death on the side of the road in Maple Ridge is hoping to help rescue her again.
When Mathieu Letourneau and Guillaume Lefevre drove by the Siberian husky now named “Willow”, they couldn’t tell if she was a coyote or a wolf, or a dog. But unlike other motorists who kept going, the pair stopped.
“I decided to turn around and the dog was sitting there just giving up — barely moving,” described Letourneau, “It was just starved to death and needed something warm.”
The two men approached Willow slowly and offered the only thing they had, a Subway sandwich. The frightened dog quickly ate it right off the stranger’s hand.
Letourneau and Lefevre couldn’t believe how neglected the Siberian husky was.
“She was in terrible shape. She had knots all over. She had patches of dirt. She was muddy and stinky. Literally looked like a dog who had been outside her whole life.”
“She looked like she got into a fight,” added Lefevre.
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But Willow was not a runaway dog who had lived outside her whole life, she was owned by a university student in his twenties who lives in Coquitlam.
The BC SPCA received a tip from a neighbour of the owner who recognized the dog after seeing media footage. Animal cruelty investigators believe they have enough evidence to move forward with animal cruelty charges under both the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act and the Criminal Code of Canada.
READ MORE: Owner of severely emaciated Siberian husky identified as student
The young dog, believed to be one or two years old, weighed 15 kilograms when she was found on Jan. 31, compared to a normal weight of about 24 kilograms for a dog her age and breed.
Officials with the BC SPCA say she likely had another 24 hours to live. She is doing better and with treatment and support will likely recover.
“She wouldn’t have survived much longer. She was falling over, could barely stand when she was picked up,” says Eileen Drever, the BC SPCA’s senior animal protection officer.
There was yet again another strange twist of fate. Just hours before rescuing Willow, Letourneau had mentioned to his friend that he was looking to adopt a rescue. He recently moved into a new place where pets are allowed. Not only was the timing just right, so too was the breed.
“I’m actually a big fan of huskies. I was actually looking for a husky-like dog.”
Letourneau is currently in talks with the BC SPCA about adopting Willow, but first she must be nursed back to health. Looking back, the pair says they’re happy they were at the right place at the right time. Lefevre says they don’t frequent the area where they found Willow, it was their second time travelling to Maple Ridge.
“I’m glad we gave her a second chance,” says Lefevre.
If the adoption goes through, Letourneau says Willow can expect a future full of camping trips, hiking, going to the lake, just to name a few.
Letourneau lives in Whistler, and as he puts it, “it’s paradise for dogs.”
Those who support Willow are hoping she finally gets a slice of paradise. It appears this tragic tale will have a happy ending.
Donations for Willow’s ongoing care are welcomed.