OHLY, the elusive Bernese Mountain Dog, is safely back home after spending almost two weeks running loose on the North Shore backcountry and worrying his owners sick.
After a concerted effort by North Shore Rescue volunteers on foot and in the air, Ohly was picked up from the Suicide Gully area on Mount Seymour and brought back to a celebrating crowd Saturday afternoon.
Its fantastic. There are no words to really explain it. Its awesome to have him home. Hes doing really good, said Alyssa Goad, Ohlys owner.
Ohly took off from the Mount Seymour parking lot on Nov. 25 when a friend of the Goads was taking him for a walk. His disappearance prompted huge public interest and media attention during the rescue effort.
Ohly didnt respond to bait left out for him on Friday so volunteers followed his tracks to the edge of Suicide Bluff, just below the alpine trail on Mount Seymour. There began the struggle to corral Ohly, who appeared to have reverted to a feral state and had no intentions of being caught.
(He) was in such good shape, (he) was just playing with our guys for five hours, some of the fittest guys on our team. It was exhausting, said Tim Jones, NSR team leader. It was very close to the point where we thought we werent going to be able to catch it and do it safely. We didnt want to run the dog off a cliff, and we didnt want to run our guys off a cliff.
When a new emergency call came in just before 1 p.m., rescuers made one last attempt and successfully gang-tackled the dog.
While it was a challenging rescue, it wasnt necessarily being done for Ohlys sake, Jones said. A groundswell of worried dog lovers on social media were clamouring for Ohly to be rescued and NSR responded to keep impassioned but ill-prepared amateur rescuers out of the dangerous area.
Thats why its called Suicide Gully;.its heinous terrain, said Jones. As a public safety issue, because the social media was so intense, we knew that people would try to effect a rescue on their own, and ill-prepared. We would have had a different problem; we would have gone for a body recovery.
Concerned donors put up thousands of dollars to help offset the cost Ohly was running up for the team, which normally limits its efforts to humans in peril, but the amount raised is probably more than the total bill, Jones said. Anything extra will likely be set aside in a reserve fund to be available the next time they are sent in search of a missing dog.
Back in his Burnaby home, two-and-half-year-old Ohly is now being showered with extra love and treats, Goad said, and the family has emerged with a few lessons learned. Ohly isnt likely to be out of his owners sight anymore, and they now know there is a surprising amount of help at hand when a beloved dog is in danger.
Community does exist in a big city, she said.
Big thanks are owed to North Shore Rescue, Talon Helicopters, the hundreds of volunteers, supporters and donors, and media organizations who covered the mishap, Goad added.
There are so many people to thank, she said.
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