Animal rescue group’s efforts save doggy duo
Lynne Bedbrook’s beloved dogs Fielding and Stella are safe and sound and back at home thanks to the quick reaction of Wakefield’s newest animal search and rescue group.
Bedbrook had been walking her dogs near Chemin de la Riviere near Wakefield on Jan. 14, when she decided to let the pair off-leash momentarily.
“I was walking them on these long leashes and they were being so good,” Bedbrook recalled, explaining that the dogs do well with recall and had been walking side by side with her the entire time. “I thought I’d let them off since we were in familiar territory, but the next time I turned around they were gone.”
Usually her dogs would come back after a minute or so, but this time there was no sign or sound of them when she called, Bedbrook explained. She spent the rest of the day searching through snowy fields, but had to return home without them once the sun began to set.
That’s when she decided to turn to social media. She posted a photo of Fielding and Stella on the Wakefield Folks Facebook group asking for members to keep an eye out for her two dogs.
“I was just inundated with offers to help, I’ve never been on my phone so much in my life,” Bedbrook said. “It was unbelievable.”
The case of the two missing dogs had been picked up by a newly formed animal search and rescue group, which came together only the week before, following a string of canine-disappearances in La Pêche.
The “LUCKY” Animal Search & Rescue Team takes its name from a dog who went missing near the Chelsea Vineyard on Jan. 8, and was tragically found too late. The group was created by Wakefield newcomer Marc Letang, who moved to the village from Montreal in November 2021.
Letang said that the deaths of Lucky and a few other dogs that had gone missing since the beginning of January had deeply affected him, and he couldn’t imagine what he would do if something similar had happened to his two dogs.
“I noticed that the community was already working together on social media sharing information about the lost dogs, but there was no one reacting to the situation right away,” Letang explained. “So I just decided to create this group in honor of Lucky.”
By the time Letang saw Bedbrook’s Facebook post on Jan. 14, the group which he had created on Jan. 10, had already amassed 50 members who were all more than willing to spend their weekend searching for the missing pooches.
“Even if we don’t have that much experience, we had people out searching as soon as possible,” Letang said. “If you wait too long, it could be too late, especially during the winter nights.”
Fielding and Stella were found just after 2 p.m. on Jan. 16 by group member Jennifer Sanchez. They were discovered between Chemin Labrick, Maxwell and de la Montage with their leashes tangled in a pile of branches.
“My husband and I had just recently joined the group,” Sanchez explained, adding that they had first heard about the missing dogs early on Jan. 15.
Sanchez, who lives close to the area where the dogs were found, said that neighbours and others who had been searching the area had heard barking, and attributes the sheer number of eyes and ears out looking for the dogs to the fact that she was able to find them.
“There were so many people over here looking, including our neighbours and people from the group. They didn’t even know [Bedbrook] or her dogs,” Sanchez said. “It was pretty amazing.”
Sanchez explained that, while there had been a number of people already searching the area, she decided to approach on skis from the direction of Chemin Maxwell, where she spotted tell-tale paw-prints in the snow accompanied by marks from where their leashes had dragged behind them. Sanchez discovered the pair of dogs not much farther away, arriving just as another neighbour arrived from the opposite direction.
“We were really happy, and they were even happier when we were untangling them,” Sanchez said.
Bedbrook told the Low Down on Jan. 17 that she is incredibly grateful that so many members of the community came out to help find her dogs, crediting their commitment for Fielding and Stella’s safe return.
“Fielding was so happy to see me, she jumped so high she touched the top of my head,” Bedbrook said. “Last night, she wouldn't leave me alone. She just cuddled me and cuddled me and cuddled me, which was just exactly what I needed.”
If you have experience with animal behaviour and training, or search and rescue, and would like to contribute to the "LUCKY" Animal Search & Rescue Team, you can reach out to Letang on Facebook, or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.