An Alberta trucker has been identified as the owner of a dog found sitting on a snowbank along the busy Coquihalla Highway Friday afternoon.
VSA Highway Maintenance workers came across the heartbreaking sight near the Coquihalla summit.
While team plowing Highway 5 southbound between Hope and Merritt, Carlie Holman and her work partner spotted the dog sitting alone in the snow between the Great Bear Snowshed and the Zopkios brake check.
“I couldn’t believe there was a dog left there or abandoned or lost. I just wanted to save him,” Holman told Global News.
Holman immediately radioed her foreman and the pair jumped into action to rescue the animal, who was shivering and frightened.
“I pulled over, my foreman pulled over behind me and he had his arrow board on. We both jumped out of our trucks and had to climb this huge snowbank,” recalled Holman.
Together the plow operator and her foreman, Ron Hagen, scaled the snow wall to try and lure the dog, who was wearing a Harley Davidson collar and had a broken leash still attached.
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“Ron goes up the hill and he’s trying to convince him to come down and he was shaking and he was, you know, tail between the legs and, you know, he was nervous right, and cold,” said Holman.
Holman moved in closer to the dog and managed to quickly bond with the animal.
“I was talking to him and I stuck out my hand, and he licked my hand after I got him to trust me, and then he started licking my face.”
Once the dog was comfortable with her, Holman grabbed what was left of his leash and brought him down the snowbank.
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“After I had the leash in hand, he was just like a big puppy coming down that hill he was so happy.”
They put the dog in Hagen’s work truck and he was driven back to the VSA maintenance shop.
When Holman finished her snowplowing shift, she took the dog home to Chilliwack – and posted about the rescue on Facebook in hopes of identifying the dog’s owner.
Holman’s post was shared thousands of times, and on Saturday night, she received a call from a trucker in Calgary. Getachaw, who goes by ‘Tony’, told her he had stopped at the Zopkios brake check around 8 p.m. on Tues. Jan. 15 while delivering a load to Langley. He was playing with his dog in the play area when ‘Archer’ was hit by another truck driver.
The ten-month old dog let out a cry and ran off into the night. Tony searched for two hours but couldn’t find his best friend. The trucker looked for his dog again on Weds. Jan. 16 before returning to Alberta heartbroken, fearing he’d lost his pet.
When he saw Holman’s Facebook post, he knew she had rescued Archer. Holman says Tony was able to provide photos and video of his dog and identify distinct markings on the animal.
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Tony travelled to B.C. to be reunited with Archer Sunday.
WATCH: In a video posted to YouTube Sunday, Archer the dog who was found cold and alone on the Coquihalla Highway, is reunited with his owner – a trucker from Calgary.
He told Global News he is amazed his young dog was able to survive more than three nights alone on the Coquihalla during winter.
“If he had of come down on the highway and got hit, it would have been a totally different story and it would have been pretty devastating,” said Holman.