Kingston firefighters were called on Saturday to rescue Gus nine days after he escaped from Grass Creek Park.
Hilary Nichols lost her dog Gus almost two weeks ago. While visiting Grass Creek Park with her two dogs, Gus managed to escape through the fence.
“It wasn’t until hours passed when I started to get a little frantic,” said Nichols, who assumed Gus would come right back since he has never run away before.
But as she’s learned through this experience, dogs that are more on the skittish side tend to go into survival mode, meaning they will likely run from anyone in sight.
Since they had heard of multiple sightings of Gus in the area, Nichols was confident that they would find him eventually. It was just a matter of time.
Worried sick, Nichols received help from the Facebook group called Lost Paws Inc. She says members of the group made the distance to come see her. Some members came as far away as Kitchener, bringing with them sensor traps, which they believed was a vital tool to help retrieve lost dogs.
After nine days, their search for Gus came to an end. But what was momentary relief quickly turned to panic. Gus was found walking along the ice of Lake Ontario, close to where he escaped, Nichols said.
“Something spooked him along the shoreline and he took off across the ice. He was in the middle of the creek and we all heard the crack and he went down.”
After attempting to retrieve him from the lake herself, Nichols left it up to Kingston firefighters to rescue Gus from the frigid water.
“It was the slowest 40 minutes of my life.”
Gus was immediately rushed to the vet to be checked out. Other than losing 10 pounds, Nichols says Gus came back with a clean bill of health.
He had some knots and a few little scrapes but he’s doing well, she said.
“After nine days on the run, I didn’t expect him to have the energy to tread water for that long,” she said.
Nichols says she is grateful that the community pulled together to help her, that not only includes the dedicated members of Lost Paws but her friends, family and even strangers helped to lend a hand.
“Everybody sort of banded together to get him home. It was incredible to see.”