Abby the beagle took off like a shot.
The 10-year-old dog owned by Reinhold and Colette Weissbock usually stuck close to her people. But for some reason on this day in late February she bolted unexpectedly, as the couple and their other dog, Axel, were hiking in the Chilliwack Community Forest on Allen Road.
Abby had been missing for more than nine days when she finally emerged on the other side of the hillside.
The Weissbocks were beyond thrilled. She was ravenous, but the feisty dog was most definitely alive.
When Reinhold showed up at the meeting spot to pick her up, Abby squealed, barked and cried with sheer joy at the sight of him.
“She was quite thin, and exhausted but totally healthy,” Colette said.
There was not a scratch on the dog. She did lose a few pounds.
“She must have lived on snow.”
They don’t really know what happened but Abby must have initially taken off after a deer, given the tracks they found, and lost her way in the vast forested area.
Colette and her husband, Reinhold were completely and utterly devastated by the loss of their dog.
On the Sunday she went missing, which was Feb. 25, Reinhold stubbornly searched and searched. He didn’t want to leave without her. He tried tracking her, tromping back and forth over 21 kilometres of trails, calling her name, trying desperately to find her.
After a few days they decided to place Abby’s bed up on the hiking trail, just in case she found her way back to the spot where they had lost her. Someone would see her and call them, they reasoned.
The Weissbocks just only just moved to Chilliwack last summer from Prince George. They don’t know too many locals yet. But they put up flyers with a cute photo of Abby and their number, and posted about it on Facebook, telling people she had a pink collar with a bow.
Reinhold returned to the forest, day after day in the following week, looking for Abby, and calling her name. But he went back up to the forest again on Sunday and retrieved the dog bed in defeat.
“After a week, we said goodbye,” said Colette.
They broke the news to their son that Abby was really gone. Everyone cried.
Then on Tuesday morning, they got the phone call they had been hoping for.
A couple near Bridal Falls had found Abby. It was like a miracle.
They were not on Facebook and had not seen any of the posts about the missing dog online, but their neighbour had seen one of the flyers taped to a mailbox.
So the farmers, Blair and Mona Purves, got their number off the flyer and called the Weissbocks to tell them their dog was safe and sound at their farm.
It was a moment of pure jubilation for Abby’s people.
“We are still in disbelief,” Colette said. “It was just amazing!”
They are so grateful to the Bridal Falls couple, and to everyone who tried to help them.
The missing dog post on Facebook was shared more than 500 times. One woman contacted them and offered to drive around the streets looking for Abby. There was a lot of kindness and good will expressed.
The Weissbocks live about two kilometres from the Community Forest, which has several hectares of trails. Over almost 10 days, Abby must have travelled over at least 15 kilometres from the Community Forest, across the Eastern Hillsides, ending in the Bridal Falls area, near Popkum.
“Within 10 minutes of being home, Abby had eaten all of her sister’s food, and fallen fast asleep on the couch, snoring,” Colette said. “You may not believe in miracles, but this was one, I’m sure.”