'Spoiled and pampered pooch' survives -17 C and predators for 9 days

Joey the Brussels Griffon didn't even have his custom fur-trimmed coat, but he's been found safe after being missing for nine days in Hay River, N.W.T.

Joey the Brussels Griffon didn't even have his custom fur-trimmed coat with him

Linda Nixon is reunited with Joey in the 553 neighbourhood of Hay River, N.W.T. (Submitted by Sandy Whitteker)

An eight-pound dog has been found after he was missing for nine days in Hay River, N.W.T.

Joey the Brussels Griffon survived temperatures as low as -17 C, not to mention predators like eagles, wolves, and foxes, before eventually being found in an area popular with trappers. 

He didn't even have his custom fur coat with him.

"This dog is a spoiled and pampered pooch," says his owner, Linda Nixon. 

"I never thought I would see him again." 

Joey the dog enjoys his welcome-home cake, after nine days outside in temperatures as low as -17 C. (Submitted by Kiera Mapes)

The tiny dog escaped through a gate while he was being watched by a friend at Nixon's house. 

Joey is afraid of people, and Nixon advised would-be rescuers to throw a coat over the dog if they saw him. Though he was spotted several times, no one managed to catch him for the first few days. The Hay River Animal Shelter left a cage open with a heat lamp in order to coax him inside, to no avail.

Nixon posted a reward of $500, hoping it would encourage someone who might otherwise be tempted to keep him to bring him home.

The substantial reward had the additional effect of bringing out hordes of searchers, and many didn't give up even when Nixon called off the search five days later.

Joey in his custom fur-trimmed coat. (Submitted by Linda Nixon)
"Half the people in Hay River were looking for him, or more," said Nixon, adding that she doesn't believe the reward was the main reason people were looking. 

Accordingly, Sandy Whitteker didn't even accept the reward when she found him hiding in the woods on April 19.  

"Anybody would have done the same," Whitteker says. 

In the end the dog recognized his owner, and for the first time in nine days Joey did not try to make an escape.

"She came along and he came right out. It was really sweet. She picked him up in a towel, crying."

Joey has been recovering since his rescue, with some minor injuries and odd behaviour. Nixon says he only lost a few ounces throughout the ordeal. 

About the Author

Jimmy Thomson


Jimmy Thomson is a CBC videojournalist based in Yellowknife. He graduated from UBC's Graduate School of Journalism after earning a B.Sc. in biology at St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, N.S. You can find him on Twitter at @jwsthomson.