Pet Tips 'n' Tales

Bernese Mountain Puppy - Lost on a Mountain!

Photo by Mary Ellen "Angel Scribe"
"We are the happiest family in the world!" announces Darwin.  After a 15-day ordeal, Hurley is back in the loving arms of his family (back row) Darwin and Tracie and (front row) Hudson (10) and Kiana (8).


"I grew up on Grouse Mountain, North Vancouver, BC, where events of the 2010 Olympics were held.  We lived beside Mosquito creek; a fast-moving-icy creek that tears down the snowy mountain side, writes Mary Ellen "Angel Scribe". Hurley, a 1--year old Bernese Mountain dog is a famous North Vancouver dog for all the wrong reasons!  His family left him in supposedly safe keeping with a $50-a-day dog-sitting service when they flew to Hawaii for spring break.

Hurley's family hugged him goodbye not realizing it may be the last time they saw their dog alive!

The dog service promised to put GPS collars on the dogs during walks, but they only had 8 collars. The day they took Hurley up the mountain there were 10 dogs.  Hurley was not wearing one of the collars!

Hurley is an over-sized puppy with mountain dog genes that could not resist the mountain terrain.  Before the dog walkers knew it they were down to 9 dogs!

After a desperate search for Hurley, the company's owner made a phone call to Hawaii.  The family, 5,029 miles from home, was frantic!  Unable to get a flight home, they felt helpless until Tracie had an idea to inform her friends via Facebook that Hurley needed help.

Their friends sprang into rescue mode. They created a Bring Hurley Home Facebook page, printed hundreds of large, color, laminated "Missing Dog" posters and placed them at every trail head in the area.

The heart-rendering story was picked up by TV stations and newspapers. Hurley's story was seen as far east as Saskatchewan at Darwin's mother's home! "We went from tens of people, to hundreds, and then thousands looking for Hurley," said Tracie. Strangers joined us in searching for Hurley! 

The dog service offered a $1,000 reward! We were emotionally overwhelmed by the communities reaction and volunteerism!

"North Shore Search and Rescue volunteers practiced their skills looking for Hurley. As devastating as this experience was, it was the most heartwarming experience our family has had," said Darwin.

"Off duty police and fire personnel volunteered to search and asked which areas had been previously searched.  We would be out on the mountain trails and people we did not know would come up to us asking if we had seen Hurley!  They did not know he was ours, Hurley touched off a massive search involving hundreds of volunteers and thousands of hours."

"Every day, we hiked with hope and never gave up on Hurley's ability to survive," added Tracie.

"The population on the North Shore, is one hundred eighty-eight thousand people," >said Mary Ellen "Angel Scribe."This spring, when I arrived in Vancouver everyone was talking about Hurley, hoping for his safe return.. During my stay, every person that heard I was going to write a Tips 'n' Tales article on Hurley was aware of his plight!"

"One volunteer, Kelly, is an avid hiker/hunter who also has a Bernese. Kelly took the day off work and searched independently for Hurley," said Tracie.  "Before he left he downloaded  information about the mountain: dog reports; trails; topography; 'Google Earth.' Conditions were excellent for tracking because of a fresh snowfall.  There was no wind so his voice would carry far when he called for Hurley. At the 1,800 ft. level of Mosquito Creek he heard a bark and scaled down a steep, dangerous, snow-covered, 60-degree slope, 300 feet to the bottom. He found Hurley trapped on a ledge near the icy water in the remote ravine. He left Hurley his lunch and took a GPS reading. There were coyote prints all around the top of the cliff!

Hiking back down the mountain, he met one of our friends who phoned us.  We phoned Search and Rescue. The men then directed the helicopter to Hurley. Three rescue personnel were flown into the area by chopper, and two were lowered down into the rocky gully on a 200-foot long line.

On CTV's news video you can see one of the rescuers patting Hurley to soothe him as they are lifted 1000 feet into the air , flown over houses, to base camp ten minutes away.  Kelly donated half of his reward money to the B.C. Wildlife Federation."

What happened when the helicopter crew let Hurley free of his flight harness? "He ran over to me and buried me with licks," laughs Darwin."We're the happiest family in the world," said Darwin. "Our house is filled with laughter and smiles again, even Hurley is smiling!  Hurley lost 22 pounds during his 15-day ordeal in the frigid wilderness. The experience renewed our faith in humanity, in our community, and taught us to never give up."


Video of Hurley swinging from a 200 foot line dangling from a helicopter. Let the video play out as there are several stories of his 15 day ordeal.
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