A search is underway for a former Whistler sled dog after it ran off yesterday while out for a walk near the North Shore Mountains.

Louie bolted from his owners Scott and Gabriella Robarts in North Vancouver's Princess Park around 5:30 p.m. PT. Thursday.

Gabriella says Louie became tangled up in his leash as he was being removed from the car and took off, trailing the leash and still wearing his harness.

Louie, the sled dog

Louie's owner Scott Robarts, says the sled dog is shy and will avoid strangers. (Gabriella and Scott Robarts)

Scott is searching the Powerline Trail thinking Louie may have taken to the nearby woods.

"He’s very shy and will shy away from strangers," says Robarts, "but he's as gentle as a mouse."

And he's worried how Louie will fare outside.

"After he's experienced warm the dry pillow of a house, he really doesn't like to be outside much."

Scott says Louie will try to stay away from people and noise. He's put the word out to the local mountain bike community on the North Shore in the hope that trail riders might spot him.

The couple have had Louie for about eight weeks ever since adopting him from the WAG animal shelter in Whistler.

About 71 sled dogs were put up for adoption after a non-profit business, which had taken over another sled dog operation, shut down it as well.

Scott says he adopted Louie after hearing about the mass kill of Whistler sled dogs in 2010, which left him "really upset."  They were put down when business slowed after the Olympics.

"The idea of adopting a sled dog hit all the right nerves, said Robarts.

Louie is about 70 pounds with a blond coat and looks a little like a Labrador Retriever.

Anyone with any information is asked to call Scott Robarts at 778-848-6100.

MAP: Princess Park, North Vancouver, B.C.


  • An earlier version of this story said Louie was one of the sled dogs that survived the cull of 56 sled dogs in Whistler in 2010. However, Jaime Hargreaves, owner of Trapper's Run Dog Sled in Whistler, says Louie was one of two older dogs she gave to WAG for adoption. WAG says they have adopted out dogs that survived the cull, but Louie was not one from that group.
    Mar 14, 2014 3:45 PM PT
With files from the CBC's Farah Merali