Dean Yaretz holds his family’s dog Lizzie tightly after her return.

Missing dog returns after month in the bush

Yaretz family grateful for support with search effort.

  • Wed Feb 24th, 2016 8:00pm
  • News

Lizzie the dog will likely be on a very short leash for some time to come.

On Saturday, about a month after she went missing in the Old Town Bay area, Lizzie was found and returned to her owners, Liza, Dean and Melissa Yaretz.

The dog was found by Wayne Pedersen, who had been at the beach in Old Town with friends and fellow Langdon, Alta. residents Teresa Sutherland, Kerwin Abram and Loretta Pitt, working on his houseboat. Pedersen said they saw the dog walk onto the beach and initially thought it belonged to another person whose car was parked nearby.

“We went to leave and saw a poster of a missing dog,” commented Pedersen. “The dog came up to us and met the description and hopped in my truck.”

Lizzie was returned to the Yaretz’ on Feb. 20. The family is grateful to Pedersen and company, and to all those who spent hours climbing and searching the area where Lizzie went missing.

“We had people in groups out there searching and hiking the mountain… day and night. I mean, I couldn’t have asked for better,” said Liza, who is amazed that Lizzie was returned, but adds she never gave up hope.

Though Lizzie is one of the family, she’s especially fond of Melissa who is relieved to have her canin companion back.

“I just want to thank everybody that helped out,” said Melissa. “I’m glad Lizzie is home safe. My dad was worried – he looked for her with help from everybody. I’m happy to have my Lizzie back.”

Liza said Dean was out taking Lizzie and another family dog for an evening walk when Lizzie broke away and disappeared.

Search efforts have been going on since, with help from numerous family friends including Debbie Fortin of K9-1-1 Animal Rescue and Vikki Myers of Grandma Vikki’s Dog Grooming.

Myers, who cares for Lizzie’s mother and three brothers, said she was determined to find the dog as soon as she received word it had gone missing. This, said Myers, involved a lot of climbing.

During the search, Myers said the faint sound of a dog barking could be heard, but no one could determine exactly where it was coming from. But like Liza, Myers said she never gave up hope, inspired by the story of a golden retriever that was missing for two years before it returned home.

“There was hope in that story,” said Myers.

Liza says Lizzie’s good health before she went missing likely helped her to survive in the bush. Though Lizzie lost weight during her backcountry experience, Liza says the dog is doing well.

“We’re all glad she’s home and it’s going to be a slow road to recovery but we’re going to get her there,” said Liza. “She’s showing all good signs. She’s spirited, she’s happy, she’s back into her routine – just very low energy.”

The relieved Liza called it a learning experience for her whole family, Lizzie included. It’s one, however, that won’t be repeated as Lizzie may find herself fitted with a GPS collar for future walks.

“She’s not going to be doing that again,” laughs Liza.