Gary Mancell knows a lot about finding missing humans. The longtime Coquitlam Search and Rescue ground team member has been involved in hundreds of searches over the years, but when his dog Maisie ran away after a car accident on July 3, it turned out his search skills weren’t much help.
“Everything I know about searching is completely irrelevant to finding a dog,” Mancell told CTV News Vancouver on Thursday, the day after Maisie was finally found, three weeks after her initial disappearance.
Mancell had just taken the six-month-old Labrador-Coon Hound mix to be spayed when the accident happened. The pair were driving home from Squamish, where Mancell’s daughter works as a veterinarian.
The accident happened in the Caulfield area of West Vancouver, Mancell said.
“We both came out of it OK, but the truck was totalled,” he said. “She bolted from the accident scene. She was really scared and took off.”
After looking for Maisie on their own for a day, Mancell and his family called Canine Valley Rehabilitation Centre in Squamish to help with the search.
Canine Valley advised relying on sightings to figure out where Maisie was and then put together a “scent track” that she could follow back to something she was comfortable with, such as a dog bed.
“After a few days, we had no sightings, so we really didn’t know where she was, for sure,” Mancell said. “So then, the strategy became one of getting as much information up as possible about her so that if anybody saw her they would call a number.”
West Vancouver Police tweeted about Maisie’s disappearance on July 9, and others helped to spread the word as well, but there were still no confirmed sightings for about two weeks.
Update: Maisie was found this morning. Tired and emaciated, after being on her own for 3 weeks. Wishing her a speedy recovery. https://t.co/MrYnp8OyLg
— West Vancouver PD (@WestVanPolice)
“I began to think, ‘She’s six months old, she’s out there by herself, nobody’s seen her for two weeks, she’s dead,'” Mancell said.
But Maisie wasn’t dead. On Wednesday morning, municipal workers from the City of West Vancouver spotted her on a rock pile near their work site. They called the number that had been circulated, and Canine Valley’s team was able to capture her.
The dog weighed 23 kilograms when she was lost and only 13 kilograms when she was found, but she had managed to survive on her own without getting sick or injured.
Mancell said he was busy when the call came in that Maisie had been found. He said the caller from Canine Valley told him to check his text messages. When he did, he saw a photo of the workers and his dog.
“I couldn’t believe it,” he said. “It was incredible.”
Maisie spent Wednesday night with Mancell’s daughter in Squamish getting intravenous fluids and monitoring at the veterinary clinic. Mancell said he hoped she would be able to come home Thursday night.
This content was originally published here.