Jasper the dog gets his Hollywood ending after crossing B.C.'s Columbia River 3 times
Callouts on Facebook, searches and finally a drone helped bring the 63-kilogram Great Pyrenees home
Jasper, a 63-kilogram Great Pyrenees, was on the lam for three days last weekend after he escaped his backyard in Castlegar, in B.C.'s West Kootenays, making an exhausting journey back and forth across the Columbia River.
His owner, Mary Hummel, said he disappeared on the night of July 2.
"I don't exactly know what happened but there was a lot of fireworks going on in this neighbourhood," she told Daybreak South host Chris Walker.
"He had actually never disappeared before so I have no idea exactly how he disappeared."
She and her husband went searching through the neighbourhood, looking for their big, white, hard-to-miss dog, but to no avail.
Hummel posted about Jasper on social media, hoping someone nearby would spot him.
Someone sent her a message saying they saw him in the nearby community of Genelle, about 14 kilometres away.
The thing was, he was on the other side of the fast-moving Columbia River.
"We saw him," Hummel said.
But then he disappeared again.
The next morning, another sighting had been reported, back on the original side of the river.
The person who saw him tried to coax him over to her, but he ended up swimming toward a sand bar. Search and rescue was called in to try to locate Jasper, and members of a nearby trailer park did what they could to try to help.
"Nobody was able to secure him at all," Hummel said.
Later that day they got another message saying Jasper was back on the far side of the river.
On Sunday, three days since Jasper escaped, someone offered to look for Jasper using their drone, so Hummel took them up on it.
"I remember looking at this river and just crying my eyes out because it's like there's no way this dog can swim this river again because it's just so awful," Hummel said.
"My husband [and I], we both thought that he had probably died and both of us were just praying and crying."
The pair were driving down a road with the drone operator as they prepared to continue the search, when something unexpected happened.
"My husband just said, 'You know what, this isn't Hollywood, it's not like this dog's going to just walk in the middle of the road and run towards us.' And 60 seconds later, right there on the road, there was Jasper," Hummel said.
He ran toward his owners, slowly because his toes were chafed from his adventures. It took a few days for him to heal, and for him to return to regular eating habits.
Either way, Hummel is happy to have her canine pal back, and she's grateful to those who helped her look for him.
"It was a miracle," she said.
With files from David French and Daybreak South