Patty’s parents think she was just trying to make her way home
Reluctantly, Qu’Appelle Sask., couple Darren Klassen and Laurie Baht agreed to rehome their one-year-old husky-lab-pitbull cross at the end of January. They were trying to keep her together with her sister, who had been adopted by someone living about 100 km away in the town of Regina Beach.
They were worried from the get-go, knowing that Patty was timid by nature and having been exposed to very few people during her short life so far due to the coronavirus pandemic, was quite attached to them — as they were to her.
So a week ago, when they found out that their beloved puppy had bolted from her new owners’ house within hours of arriving, Klassen sprang into action.
“I took off out of Qu’Appelle to Regina Beach to hunt for her,” he said.
“She’s not built for this. She doesn’t have the fur to deal with this kind of cold. To me, it was just I had to get her found.”
For the first few days, he had little luck, but he persevered.
Then on Wednesday, a man he didn’t know named Kelly Schweitzer contacted him.
Schweitzer, hearing rumblings about the missing pup, saw Patty’s red leash trailing while he was out ice fishing.
“I ran home, got dressed up real nice and warm and spent the next five days until we got her,” said Schweitzer, a self-professed dog lover who says his own pets are part of his family.
“The chase was on.”
As it got colder and colder (Saskatchewan was on track to and did hit dangerously low temperatures that felt like -50 C over the weekend), more and more people joined the search party.
Members of the Regina Beach Area Lost and Found Pet Alert Facebook group were on the lookout for Patty and they were keeping Darren and his newfound friends attuned to her whereabouts.
“It wasn’t looking promising,” said Perry Reavley, who runs Critter Gitter Wildlife Control Services.
Reavley officially joined the search Friday as his daughter Sara Reavley continued to post and push for updates on social media.
“It was absolutely amazing to see,” Sarah Reavley said of the response. “Not many people even knew this dog.”
From Alta Vista, north of Regina Beach, to just east of Lumsden, Patty made the rounds before descending into a nearby rural valley.
“We all knew, the people involved all knew she probably wouldn’t make it through the night out there,” Perry Reavley said, referring to the deepening freeze that happened in the hours between Saturday evening and Sunday morning.
Reavley set a live trap with a snack to entice the hungry dog and left it with Klassen, who was determined to sit at the location and wait for Patty to bite.
Eventually, around midnight, she did.
“It was overwhelming how much support we had. They were out helping us track her. They were out watching for her,” said Baht, grateful to the community that helped protect Patty.
Now that she’s back safe in Qu’Appelle, that’s where Baht and Klassen intend to keep her for good.
Except for a little frostbite and windburn on her nose, Baht said Patty is doing great.