A longtime B.C. search-and-rescue volunteer who’s saved countless lives is appealing for the public’s help after his six-month-old puppy bolted after a crash in West Vancouver earlier this month.
Garry Mancell was travelling eastbound on the Upper Levels highway near the Caulfield exit around 8:30 p.m. on July 3, when he said he got distracted and drove into a median.
Mancell told Global News his truck was totalled in the single-vehicle collision, but that he and Maisie were OK.
Unfortunately, the young Labrador retriever-coonhound cross got scared after the impact and ran off into the night.
“I was worried that she was going to get hit by a car,” said Mancell. “She was a bit nervous to begin with and she’s probably very scared right now.”
Maisie took off with her leash attached and despite several sightings, remains missing.
Mancell, who has been a Coquitlam SAR volunteer since 2000, and his wife Anne, have cancelled their summer vacation to search for their lost puppy.
“I have 20 years of experience in search and rescue. I’ve been in over 100 searches, body recovery, the whole thing… so I know how to find a person dead or alive,” Mancell told Global News.
“The strategy with a dog is completely different.”
So Mancell called in the experts at Squamish’s Canine Valley Rehabilitation Centre.
According to its website, Valley Calderoni and her team take emergency cases and midnight calls — and have worked with “over 15,000 dogs of all shapes, sizes and temperaments.”
“You have to think like a dog in order to find a dog,” the Canine Valley founder told Global News.
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Calderoni, who is on Maisie’s trail, said it’s crucial that anyone who spots the puppy does not chase her, or call her name.
“In this case, there was a car accident. She bolted out of the car, she heard her name being called as she’s bolting out scared,” she said.
“That makes it very difficult for her to have positive associations to her name.”
Tracking Maisie now involves monitoring sightings and the setting of humane traps to lure her when she gets hungry.
“We want to use the scent of her owners to coax her to come out,” said Calderoni.
Mancell recently spent eight days camped out in the forested area where Maisie was last seen, in the hopes she would come to him.
“It’s more of an exercise in convincing the dog to come to us,” he said.
The waiting game continues with the Mancells hoping for the one sighting that will bring Maisie home.
Anyone who sees the puppy is asked not to approach her or call out and instead call the number on the missing posters: 604-848-4401.