'Gobsmacked': Marley the Whitehorse pooch dognapped from front yard, social media helps find her

When Marley the dog disappeared from her front yard this weekend, both RCMP and social media helped track her down.

Marley's owner was 'distraught' after the dog disappeared from the front lawn on Saturday

Marley, the white terrier cross, was taken from her front yard on Saturday. She was found limping and frail by the Alaska highway, three days later. (Submitted by Paul Gowdie)

It was a "terrible" weekend for Julie DesBrisay.

Her beloved Marley, a white terrier cross, disappeared from her front yard in Whitehorse Saturday, which launched both a police and social media investigation.

"We are distraught," DesBrisay told CBC North host Leonard Linklater on radio Monday afternoon — a plea to her community to help find her little "Arctic fox" with pointy ears and brown, tear-stained eyes.

Marley with DesBrisay's daughter. (Submitted by Paul Gowdie)

The bizarre disappearance of Marley had DesBrisay, and the masses on social media bewildered, even "gobsmacked." 

That's because a witness in the Riverdale neighbourhood of Whitehorse saw a woman in a distinct car picking up the pooch from the front yard and driving off with her, said DesBrisay. DesBrisay's Facebook post about her missing dog was shared and commented on over a hundred times within a couple of days.

DesBrisay contacted the RCMP with the information she had.

"They knew who [the suspect] was, and they've been in contact with her," said DesBrisay on Monday.

The RCMP located the woman near the Carcross Cut off area by the Alaska Highway. But police told DesBrisay that the unleashed Marley had long ran away after being "spooked" by another dog, when the dog-napper took her out of the car. The individual had also taken Marley's red collar off, she was told.

Social media prompts search party

A search party was launched by social media, late Monday afternoon.

"Someone last night… posted on Facebook that she had seen a little, white and blonde dog running on the Alaska Highway," said DesBrisay in a follow-up interview Tuesday.

"Interesting enough, she hadn't actually seen all these Facebook posts about Marley being missing."

(Julie DesBrisay/Facebook)

There were around 30 friends and strangers that DesBrisay knows of searching along the highway.

"They were out driving, doing laps of the Alaska highway, looking for Marley," said DesBrisay. "People out of the kindness of their hearts, doing this for a total stranger... I just feel so grateful for it."

It was DesBrisay's husband who eventually found the frail and limping Marley Monday evening.

Marley was frail and limping when DesBrisay's husband Paul Gowdie found the dog by the Alaska Highway late Monday evening. (Submitted by Julie DesBrisay)

"My husband drove down one driveway, and up over the hill came our little pup," said DesBrisay.

Marley has been resting at home since then, and is recovering.

Dog thief not being charged

Since the fall of 2013, police received seven reports of stolen dogs in the Whitehorse region — and 12 in all of the territory, according to the RCMP. Police say not all of those dogs were taken by strangers, and most were found and returned to their rightful owners.

Marley is now reunited with her family, after strangers and friends helped search for her. (Submitted by Julie DesBrisay)

​​RCMP Insp. Archie Thompson also says charges won't be laid in this case, saying the "public interest is not served to lay charges against this individual." 

DesBrisay says she understood, but added that Marley will "never again" stay out in the front yard, alone.

With files from Leonard Linklater