Keno the dog has been found.
But the four-year-old husky/shepherd cross that went missing on Mount Prevost on Jan. 25 was found not far from where he was lost on the mountain, and not in the Coombs area where the main search for him has been underway for weeks.
Keno was spotted on a logging road on Mount Prevost on the evening of Feb. 10 by a man named James before taking off back into the woods when James tried to approach him.
James knew that the dog fit the description of Keno after seeing the media coverage of the search for him and got the word out to the many people searching for the dog.
Judy Bobke, the woman who first introduced Keno to his owner, Jesse McMaster, more than a year ago, had never stopped looking for Keno on Mount Prevost since he went missing, and received word that Keno was spotted at around 6 p.m. on Feb. 10.
Bobke, who helps find missing dogs in the Shawnigan Lake area, said when McMaster was told Keno was still on Mount Prevost, he walked to the top of the mountain in the middle of the night looking for his best friend.
“But Keno had made his way to Russel Farms where a man in a truck, who knew Keno was the missing dog everyone was looking for, tried to gently coax him into the truck,” Bobke said.
“Keno jumped right in and wouldn’t get out. He just wanted to go home. I was called and I went and picked up Keno and tried to get in touch with Jesse, but there’s no phone service at the top of Mount Prevost so my friend Anna Androwski and I drove to the top with Keno in the front seat.”
Bobke said Jesse was on the other side of the mountain when she reached the top, but she managed to get a message through to him and they agreed to meet on the road at the bottom of the mountain.
“I took a video of Jesse’s first meeting with Keno since he was lost,” she said.
“It was very touching and I’m really happy he’s back home.”
McMaster said he was overjoyed when he saw Keno; although the dog looked pretty skinny and hungry after his long ordeal in the woods.
“I took him immediately to a veterinarian and he got a clean bill of health, although he needs to put some weight on,” he said.
“He’s also pretty tired and needs to rest. I’d like to thank everyone who was involved in the search, including Judy Bobke, FLED [Finding Lost & Escaped Dogs], ROAM BC [an organization that helps reunite lost animals with their owners], the Arrowsmith Animal Resource Foundation and all the volunteers. It was a long search and all the help was really appreciated.”
The search for Keno was centred in the Coombs area, about 100 kilometres north of where the dog went missing, after what were considered credible sightings of him were made at the Coombs Country Campground and other areas in the region several days after his disappearance.
Gary Shade, a member of FLED who was active in the search, said the main witness at the campground described the dog that was believed to be Keno so well that it left little doubt with most of the searchers that Keno was in the Coombs area.
He said added to that certainty was the fact that there were no sightings of Keno on Mount Prevost since his disappearance before the one on Wednesday night, despite there being people on the mountain’s trail systems all the time.
But Bobke said she was skeptical that Keno made his way to Coombs right from the beginning.
She said she encouraged other searchers to head to the Coombs area to help with the search there, but she and a number of other people continued their search on Mount Prevost, although there had been no credible sightings there since Keno’s disappearance.
McMaster said Keno is skittish and pretty elusive, and he may have hid for many days before hunger forced him to search for food and be seen.
“I’m just glad to have him back,” he said.