It was a regular day in mid-September when Tasha Bigras and her best friend left his acreage just outside of Stoughton, and the pair made the trip to Regina to do some shopping. Bigras was shocked to find that her friend's dog, Bear, was missing from the yard when they returned. The sweet and gentle dog did not have a history of leaving home on his own, so the two friends began their search. A bit of investigating would only turn up a set of tire tracks passing by the acreage, but no other signs of Bear could be found. It would take months of posting online and hoping for somebody to spot him before a lead on Bear's location would finally come through.
"I put posts up in the lost and found pets pages for Estevan, Weyburn, and Saskatchewan. We were looking everywhere," said Bigras. "We had heard absolutely nothing up until last Friday. That's when we got a call from a vet in Toronto. She called us because someone had brought Bear in to get checked and he was microchipped, so they contacted us right away."
It appeared as though this Toronto man had purchased Bear from a private seller and was doing his due diligence as a new pet owner by taking him to a vet for a checkup. While we may never know the exact events that brought Bear into his possession, the vet who discovered the microchip was not exactly surprised to find that this dog already had a home.
"Sadly, it seems very common," said Bigras. "Usually it's not this far out, though. Usually, the Toronto area dogs that are brought in are supposedly from Ottawa and Montreal, not from two provinces over! We were absolutely stunned."
Now with Bear thankfully located safe and sound, the difficult process of bringing him home begins. Tasha said that they have been brainstorming options since receiving the news. They considered hiring a long-haul trucker to transport Bear and they did the math on making the drive themselves, but too many logistical hurdles have led them to the conclusion that flying to Toronto and flying him home is the best option available.
"Now we need to find a proper crate, take Bear back to the vet to get the proper papers showing a clean bill of health so he can fly, transport him to the airport, and somehow cover the cost of airfare and everything else," listed Bigras. "It will cost a little over $2,000 but to drive means time off of work on top of everything else, so flying is our best option."
Tasha has been extremely thankful for the friendly and helpful pet-owner communities in the Southeast, and all of the people who have reached out with their advice. While chatting with other local dog owners online, one person shared their own story of how their dog went missing last Summer as well. Thanks to their pet's microchip, they received a call from a vet in Saskatoon and were able to be reunited about a month ago. An eerie coincidence, no doubt. With a plan in place to bring Bear home, Bigras hopes to soon put this crazy experience behind her.
"Pets are family. They look after you as much as you look after them. I'm just doing what I can to get our baby back home."
Tasha and her friend plan to leave for Toronto this Friday for a quick turnaround trip to bring Bear home. While they expect to pay fully out of pocket, they are hoping for the kindness of local pet owners to help ease some of the costs that the trip will incur by donating any amount that they are comfortable with. Those wishing to contribute to their journey can do so by donating to Tasha's GoFundMe Page by clicking HERE, or by way of e-transfer if preferred: firstname.lastname@example.org
Although Bear's story may soon end on a positive note, his is a cautionary tale. Pet owners should remain vigilant and ensure that their dogs have a working microchip with accurate contact information in case they go missing.