Wednesday, August 7th 2019, 2:20 pm - Charlie the dog escaped Grand Forks, N.D., home during snowstorm in winter 2016
A frail white dog with a distinctly goofy mouth that ran away from its U.S. home during the middle of a snowstorm in late 2016 was caught in a coyote trap before reconnecting with its American family on Monday — in Canada.
Charlie hadn't been seen by the family since he bolted out the door of their home in Grand Forks, N.D., as snow blanketed the yard more than 2 ½ years ago. Catherine Herzog and her family were deeply concerned about their lost dog, who had joined them when he was a tiny puppy that could fit in the palm of her hand, Herzog said.
"Weeks turned into months and months turned into years, and we'd never heard anything, so we had assumed that either he had frozen to death or got hit by a plow or a car," she said.
Charlie, a crossbreed between a pug and a miniature American Eskimo dog, had left behind his brother and two daughters.
Herzog said she frantically called police, shelters, kennels, and vets in the area — to no avail.
Meanwhile, residents in a rural Manitoba community — more than 160 kilometres away from Charlie's home in North Dakota — were quite confused by a strange dog that mysteriously began roaming around town.
Angie Prince-Smoke runs a community group on Facebook for people who live in Morris, a community about 61 kilometres south of Winnipeg. An animal-lover herself, with three canines and four cats at home, she said people had been posting in the group about spotting the seemingly wild dog for the past two years.
"Many posts were in the wintertime because everyone was concerned of his safety," Prince-Smoke said. "So everybody was posting 'who's dog is this? We can't catch him. I've tried to lure him in'."
Charlie somehow managed to evade capture and survive the harsh prairie winters. Residents, who would toss scrap food to him, believed he was abandoned or neglected. Often times they would see him hanging around by the Stampede grounds, looking fearful.
"As soon as they got near him, he was gone," Prince-Smoke said.
On Aug 2, more than two dozen months after getting lost, Charlie was caught in a coyote trap that was set up by the town's animal control services to find him. He was impounded at the 7 Acre Wood Animal Boarding Kennel three days later.
Robert Zacharias, who owns the boarding facility, said the lost pet was agitated and scared upon arrival.
"It looked like a dog that had definitely been on the run for a while," he said.
He was still wearing identification tags on his collar, which allowed him to be tracked to his American family, who immediately recognized him by his little tongue hanging out the side of his mouth.
"I never in my wildest dreams expected to get that phone call," Herzog said when she heard her dog had been found.
Catherine Herzog never thought she would see her lost dog ever again. On Monday, she reunited with Charlie, who went during a snowstorm shortly before Christmas 2016. (Submitted by Hannah Zacharias/7 Acre Wood Animal Boarding Kennel.)
"Never, ever thought he would've made it all the way to Canada," she said.
Herzog made the trip north from her home in Grand Forks, N.D. to Morris, Man. immediately when she learned her missing pet was found. "I made a b-line for Canada," she said about her first time crossing over the border beyond Peace Gardens.
"We've missed that sweet little face of his," she said over the phone, hours after reuniting with Charlie.
"He was crying and giving kisses," she said as the dog bolted over to her before anyone at the pound could get a leash on him. The two continued travelling north to Winnipeg, where Herzog arranged veterinary visits to properly vaccinate and check up on the pet.
"He was my little buddy. And he was always kind of frail, so it's amazing that he made it this long in the wild," Herzog said, chuckling while reflecting on his adventures.
Herzog looks forward to bringing the previously pampered pooch back to his family in Grand Forks. She said she thanks the residents of Morris who kept an eye on the dog and helped him stay alive.
"The people really went the extra effort to find his family and we're just so grateful to all of them to have him back."
Story written by Dana Hatherly.
Source: CBC News