This is the love story of Ted and Abbey — a shelter dog that escaped and trekked across the city to find the kennel worker who had fed him some cheese-flavoured bacon strips.
Ted first arrived at the Northwest Territories SPCA in Yellowknife last Friday.
"He was scared. It's a very terrifying place, first off, for dogs and cats," recalled Abbey Boyd, who works at the SPCA.
The two met officially on Saturday morning during Abbey's shift. She tried taking timid Ted for a walk.
"He wouldn't let me take him. Nobody could walk him for a day."
Then, Abbey did one small act that may have changed the destiny of the two forever.
"I fed him cheese-flavoured bacon strips to try to get him to love me," said Abbey.
She then asked the maintenance guy to build Ted a larger kennel because she "thought it wasn't big enough," and left.
"Apart from that, I had next to no contact with Ted during my shift at the SPCA. I left and went home," she said.
The next morning at around 3 a.m., Abbey got up and left for work at the airport.
Three hours later, she came home and noticed a dog sitting on her deck, barking at her. Abbey said she was wary of approaching the animal.
"Finally, I got up the gumption to just walk by him," said Abbey.
The dog ran past her, down the deck stairs, but stayed on her property.
Abbey lured the dog into her home and noticed a small nick on his nose.
"That's when I realized that it had to be Ted," she said.
After a phone call to the SPCA, Abbey found out that Ted had busted out of his outdoor kennel and escaped through the chain-linked fence.
Ted's mysterious journey
How Ted found Abbey is still a mystery.
"It doesn't really make sense, how he would have chosen or found me out of all the smells," said Abbey.
The SPCA shelter is located in an industrial area on the outskirts of the city. The total distance between the SPCA and Abbey's house is 5.5 kilometres through established roads.
That means the pooch would have had to trek past the Yellowknife airport, possibly across some ponds and lakes, and through several suburban neighbourhoods in order to find Abbey's home.
"It's just, it's the weirdest, the most amazing thing that's ever happened," said Abbey.
"I'm from Yellowknife. Everything's a sign when it comes to animals." - Abbey Boyd
"It could be a complete coincidence, but I'm from Yellowknife. Everything's a sign when it comes to animals," said Abbey.
"I can't ignore a sign like that. He showed up at my house, out of how many people [that] live here? All the dogs. All the smells. He chose my house. Where I am."
A 'one-person dog,' says Akita breeder
Ted is a German shepherd and Akita mix.
German shepherds are known to be the most common breed for police dogs because of their great sense of smell and endurance.
Akita inus originate from Japan.
"Their original use for the dog was to hunt and kill bears in Japan. They have a good nose for tracking," said Cheryl Sadler, an Akita breeder of 35 years in Alberta.
Some of her dogs have previously worked in search and rescue in B.C., as well as for bear control for a tree planting company.
"They are more of a one-person dog. They bond with one," said Sadler, saying that it must have been the kindness Abbey showed to Ted that "really imprinted on him."
But Sadler said she finds it "surprising" how Ted escaped the kennel and found Abbey's house, just after one encounter.
"They don't tend to wander, which is interesting."
The one thing that sets them apart is their extreme loyalty, she said.
"They're very determined," said Sadler, laughing.
"They have a mind of their own. They have a strong drive to achieve something."
'He's coming with me'
Since the weekend, Abbey said the two have been going for walks with other dogs. She said Ted never leaves her side.
"He still stays close enough and is always constantly looking back, staring at me."
"It's kind of put a new spin on my life," she said.
Abbey is in the process of adopting Ted. She's planning to move into a new home in the next few months because her current housing doesn't allow for dogs.
"[I'm going to] build my bond with him that apparently, he senses more than I do. [He's] literally sitting on a platter ready to be loved and taken care of."
"He's coming with me."