It’s an early Christmas present that took a community’s efforts to create.
After spending three weeks at large in the Vernon area, with temperatures dipping below -17C, Grace has been found and is safely indoors once again.
“Having Grace back safe and well is the best Christmas gift ever,” said B.C. SPCA Kelowna branch manager Suzanne Pugh. “We can’t thank everyone enough for all of their help and support.”
Grace, a one-and-a-half-year-old black Labrador cross, went missing Nov. 21 with her blue leash still attached. A special girl who is timid around people, Grace had just been placed in foster care in Vernon for socialization when she escaped.
The B.C. SPCA and its volunteers immediately began bombarding the Vernon community with publicity to try to get Grace home, including flyers, local media appeals, door-to-door campaigns and social media posts on Facebook. After a massive co-ordinated search effort set up by B.C. SPCA staff, Grace’s activity was tracked.
“We knew she kept returning to one specific location. We worked with the homeowners, who were fantastic and worked with us every step of the way – even activating a security surveillance camera – and were able to set up a feed, water and shelter station, placing bedding from her sibling in the shelter,” said Pugh. “As soon as we had video footage confirming it was Grace and not a wild animal eating the food, we were able to set up a humane trap Thursday morning.”
Late Thursday night, Pugh received a call from the homeowners saying the trap had worked, and Grace was taken to Fairfield Animal Hospital, where staff were expecting the lovable escape artist. After a thorough examination, they found Grace to be in incredible shape, given the time she spent out on the streets in such weather conditions.
Pugh is thankful to B.C. SPCA staff and volunteers, to the residents of the Vernon and district community, to the area’s dog control agency and to the media for all of their help in getting Grace’s story noticed.
“We couldn’t have asked for a happier ending to what could have been a very tragic story,” she said.
“It was truly the entire community’s efforts that got our Grace home, safe and warm and happy.”