Two young dogs were rescued last week from a remote island on B.C.’s central coast by a trio of salmon farm employees.
Krystyna Podlasly, Dalynn St Pierre, and Ashley Riley were boating by Minstrel Island, which is located in the Johnstone Strait region, when they noticed two animals walking along the shore.
Thinking they were simply wolves at first, the MOWI employees continued to watch before suddenly realizing they were starving and emaciated dogs. They then travelled over to the island to get a better look, and spent five hours trying to earn the dogs’ trust while coaxing them onto their boat.
Their boat actually beached during the process, but they were able to get them on board, then get out safely.
The dogs were brought back to their salmon farm camp where they were cared for by the group for three days and two nights. MOWI donated time and fuel to bring the dogs — now named Bear and Tiger — into the Englewood dock near Port McNeill by Dave Legault to meet a volunteer and animal foster mom, Kim Leonard Murphy.
Tri-Port Wildlife Response Team member Jill Laviolette was first alerted about the dogs on Dec. 30.
“I was heading down-Island to go search for a separate missing dog from a small shipwreck and to help clean up debris from the boat,” Laviolette said. “Merrilee Tognela got the call from the Mountain Avian Rescue Society (MARS) about the dogs asking if we could we assist.”
Laviolette and Tognela immediately sprung into action.
“Social media posts went up, every water taxi that services that area was called for quotes, networking with anyone who we knew who might know anything about the dogs circumstances, trying to identify them in all neighbouring resorts, villages, communities,” confirmed Laviolette. “All we knew at the time was that the dogs were picked up from a remote island and that they were alone and starving but had been rescued.”
She noted the Tri-Port Wildlife Response Team works so fiercely to help save animals, and it hurt their hearts having to see “two dogs in distress who were in rough shape, severely malnourished, emaciated, skittish. Absolutely heartbreaking.”
After transporting the dogs to the North Island Veterinary Clinic, Laviolette was happy to announce Bear and Tiger are now doing amazing.
“They are both putting on weight, love to snuggle and be petted, and they are getting used to humans, cats, and other dogs,” she said. “The vet gave them both an A- for health and was so impressed with how well they are doing considering their ordeal.”
The dogs have now started eating puppy food. Laviolette noted they are planning to start fundraising to help cover the costs of their rehabilitation, adding they have already had many donations to help make their vet check-ups happen.
“It was just absolutely incredible, we are so thankful and grateful.”
As for how the dogs ended up on Minstrel Island, Laviolette noted they are searching high and low for the owners, previous owners, anyone who may have a sibling dog, or anyone who recognizes where they came from.
“Any anonymous tips are so greatly appreciated,” she said. “We have been calling RCMP detachments to see if any shipwrecks have happened recently or any reports of missing humans or animals.
“We’ve called multiple dog rescue groups BC and Canada wide in case these two were stolen from back east and dumped here. We have shown photos on Minstrel Island, Guilford Island, Alert Bay, Sayward, Coombs, Nanaimo, Courtenay, Victoria. Everywhere. Someone knows something. Please just let us know so we can use our time and energy to care for the dogs. Any tips are helpful.”
Laviolette wanted to acknowledge a few people who were instrumental in saving the dogs lives, specifically mentioning MARS, Boni and Chris Sharpe in Port McNeill for helping to assist with the boat transport, and of course “MOWI Canada West’s amazing crew.”
Finally, Laviolette stated she wanted to take the opportunity to say if anyone has an animal that they can’t take care of, can’t feed or cover medical care, “please surrender your animal to a local rescue or shelter. It does not make you a bad person but a deeply caring one. If anyone is ever found to have neglected, abandoned, abused or to have not given their animal food, shelter or medical care – that is abuse and it’s unacceptable.
“Please always have your animals best interest at heart if you are going to be a pet parent.”
Donations can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. All the proceeds will go to feeding, caring or medical treatments for Bear and Tiger.