On New Year’s Eve a Kingston couple dropped off their German shepherd and Aussie border collie mix, Leo, at Thousand Islands Dog Resort before spending the night in Montreal.
“I’ve never had my dog in boarding before, so I kinda trusted it — you put your dog in boarding for 48 hours, you kind of expect him to be there when you get back. But that’s not the case,” said Leo’s owner Alex Choiniere.
After four days of searching and no sign of Leo, Friday came with great optimism for the couple. Phone calls and Facebook messages began pouring in saying a dog that matches Leo’s description was spotted in a wooded area near the kennel.
According to the owner of Thousand Islands Dog Resort, Leo managed to unlock a gate and escape.
“The dog was trying to jump over the fence and he hit it and it popped open and he was gone,” said Dave Sly, the owner of Thousand Island Dog Resort.
On January 2, when the news broke on Global Kingston that Leo had been missing for more than 24 hours, Lost Paws Inc., a federally registered community organization and missing dog response team, reached out to the couple and wanted to help in the search.
One of the detectives for Lost Paws Inc. is Dana Dimitroff, and she told Global news that there are a few mistakes dog owners make when searching for their lost pet.
“A lot of people think when they see a lost dog that they should call out to them and that’s the wrong thing to do,” says Dimitroff.
“When the pet is in panic mode, usually during the first 24 hours of being missing, you should get low to the ground, avoid eye contact, turn sideways to make yourself less of a threat to the dog and softly encourage the dog to you.”
Lost Paws Inc. has been guiding Alex and his girlfriend through the search with tips to draw Leo from hiding, like spreading peanut butter on trees and placing drops of beef and chicken broth mixed with garlic around the area the pet was last seen.
The recent snowfall in the Kingston area has aided in the search as the volunteers, detectives and the couple has been able to follow tracks.
The search has come at a price for Choiniere, who recently started a new job and has had to take off work. But says he is committed to reuniting with his best friend and is preparing to spend nights in the woods until Leo is found.