Our friend Portia is still missing.
It was Friday, February 24th when she bolted out the front door of her home when the plumber arrived. It's not something she would normally do.
Local social media groups who help find lost pets were notified and people sprang into action. Posters were made and put up around the community of Sooke, BC where she's lost.
Sooke is district about 45 mins north of Victoria. It has a growing downtown area with some residential pockets, but it's pretty much surrounded by large rural properties on three sides and the ocean on one. Where Portia went missing from is full of Private Properties, farms, acreages, trails, wildlife -- and lots of places where a dog who's likely in survival mode now, can make itself unseen.
There have been a couple potential sightings since Portia went missing, but none confirmed so a search party was set up for Saturday, March 4th. The maps and areas to search were organized by Erin, who also set up a home base to keep track of everyone. It was cold and rainy and windy and at the forefront of everyone's mind was Portia, a senior sleddie who came into care in April 2021. Portia is very sweet, but very leery of new people. And while she's a cuddler at home, she needs her brother Jasper for support. And it turns out Jasper is really missing his Portia.
Volunteers drove around the rural areas checking out what maps couldn't show. Marked trails were walked and new trails were forged. With snow on the ground in some spots, volunteers watched for paw prints. More larger posters were put up and people handed out small posters and chatted up anyone they came across.
As I was driving around I would keep seeing things that I thought were Portia… or places where she could be hiding. But it was like looking for a needle in a haystack, in a field of haystacks. Where do you start?
At one point I ran into some family who lives out there and since he knows the area, I popped in for a visit and he - along with the help of his dogs - showed me some areas our group could search. (Thanks B, A + E!)
The Sooke terrain felt familiar with its dead-end rural roads, trails to who-knows-where, moss-covered rocks, lakes and streams, and it took me back to 2015 and the time I joined Deb on one of her trips to search for Apex.
Apex had been Deb’s foster dog and after he got adopted, he went missing. For five months he survived on his own in the rural areas outside of Sechelt, BC, until he appeared seemingly out of nowhere on a fish farm dock, safe and in reasonable health (save for some weight loss and a few ticks) [https://www.iwasasleddog.com/blog/finding-apex]. So armed with Apex’s remarkable story and the many other tales of lost dogs who are found days, weeks, months after going missing, it gives me a sense of hope in finding Portia.
There was a lot of groundwork laid by the volunteers, so along with other work going on behind the scenes including scent markers and trail cams we’re all just waiting for a confirmed sighting. Something that provides us with an area to focus the search. So while Saturday's search party may not have yielded anything concrete this time, the eyes and ears are open and word about Portia is spreading.
Some from our sleddie community came out to help too and I managed to connect with a few of them: Stevie + Peach, Sparky + Buddy (and l'il Koda Bear), Argus and Twister. And some of them even gave a “one-ear flop” in support of their friend Portia.
Thanks also to head greeter, Cedar, who provided some smiles on a very gray day and did her part by forging through some snow with one of the volunteers.
If you're able to help with posters or searches, please let me know.
Thanks so much to everyone who came out to help!