Shawnigan Lake’s James Dumont was delighted when he was reunited with his long-lost dog Red on Thursday.
Red, a rare redbone coonhound, had been missing since September before he was found wandering along Bell-McKinnon Road in North Cowichan last week and taken to Coastal Animal Services in Duncan.
Dumont said he only owned the dog for just two days before he took him to Victoria to show him off to coworkers and friends and left him for just a few minutes in his unlocked car in a parking lot at the Tillicum Centre in Saanich as he went into the mall to buy dog food.
He said that when he returned, Red was gone and the kidnappers had taken his collar and lead off and thrown them back into his car.
Despite a massive search that involved placing posters of Red prominently around the area where he want missing, and the work of FLED, an organization that helps look for lost and escaped dogs and posted images of Red on social media, there was no sign of the dog until this week.
Judi Burnett, an employee at Coastal Animal Services, said the CAS received a call last week from a lady in the Bell-McKinnon area who said a dog had showed up in her yard and she was afraid it was going to be hit by a car on the roadway so she gated the animal in and called the CSA.
“In my 22 years here, I’ve never seen another redbone coonhound come through this shelter, so it’s a rather unique breed,” she said.
“He looked like he was well cared for. He was here for about a week before the owner located him. Both the dog and its owner were really happy and excited to see each other. This is a real good-news story.”
Dumont said he received a call from FLED informing him that a dog fitting Red’s description was picked up in Duncan and was being held at the CAS.
“I wasn’t completely sure that it was him until I got there, but there are only about a half dozen of this breed on the Island so I was pretty sure it was Red,” he said.
“I was just so happy to see him again. We’re already starting to pack the pounds on him and someone had taught him to sit while he was missing. He’s doing great and I’m so pleased that he’s back.”
Dumont said he still wonders who took Red, but he’s just glad that they kept him in great shape.