Wendy (Burgess) Johansen with the little brown dog

Wendy (Burgess) Johansen with the little brown dog

Freeway finds a new home

Exhausted after a frantic week or more of running from one end of the city to the other looking for her babies, Freeway is now resting comfortably in a new home.

  • Jul. 28, 2011 9:00 a.m.

Exhausted after a frantic week or more of running from one end of the city to the other looking for her babies, Freeway is now resting comfortably in a new home.

Freeway is the name given to the little brown dog that had been spotted roaming the city for a couple of weeks.

She obviously had puppies somewhere and appeared to be searching for them, but she would run away when approached by strangers.

Exhausted and foot sore Freeway lapsed into a deep sleep in the St. John Lutheran Church yard on Hodgson Road Saturday, where Bonnie Burgess and her sister Wendy Johansen were finally able to execute a rescue.

“She was so scared but so exhausted and foot sore that she just laid her head on my arm when we lifted her into the truck,” Johansen says.

According to the information the sisters have been able to gather, Freeway’s drama likely began in the Stampede Grounds during a thunder storm.

Johansen says she first spotted Freeway on Friday, July 15 trotting by the side of Highway 20 heading over the bridge towards the fire hall. She followed Freeway to the Tolko Lakeview office, then, not having a cellphone, went home to call her sister and the BC SPCA.

By the time the sisters got back to Tolko, Freeway was gone again.

“Bonnie and I then started searching for her after work and during our lunch hour,” Johansen says. “We spotted her a number of times but each time couldn’t get close to her.”

She says they were advised by the BC SPCA that there had been several sightings of Freeway but no one had been able to catch her.

She had been spotted in as far distant locations from one another as Esler subdivision, the store on Dog Creek Road, the fire hall, and Mackenzie Avenue.

On their searches the sisters spotted Freeway on Highway 20, on Mackenzie Avenue, down South Lakeside, on Broadway north near the Carson Street lights, and near the Lutheran Church on Hodgson Road.

Johansen says her husband spotted Freeway by the St. John Lutheran Church last Friday, so on Saturday afternoon she and her sister went to the church where they were each able to quietly make their way around opposite sides of the building to close the gates and corral Freeway in the church compound.

“When I knelt down and spoke softly to her she sat down and let me pet her,” Johansen says. “It was immediately obvious she was not aggressive and very tired and hungry.”

The sisters lifted Freeway into their truck and tried to take her to both veterinary hospitals and the BC SPCA but all three facilities were closed by then, so they took Freeway to Wendy’s house where she has spent the last week or so recovering.

“It was Debbie (Woods, animal control) from the City who named her Freeway,” Burgess says. “Debbie was great, she spent a lot of time looking for her as well and arranged a spot for her at the SPCA if needed.”

When found, Freeway wasn’t wearing a collar and didn’t have any tattoos or identification that the sisters could see.

“We have since found out there was a woman at the Stampede Grounds looking for her on Tuesday, July 19,” Burgess says. She says the story is that a woman who was riding her horse in the Stampede Grounds reported that another woman had approached her and said she was searching for a little brown dog who had been frightened and run off in a thunder storm. The report they received was that this woman had Freeway’s puppies but when they went to find out who the owner might be they couldn’t find any postings about a missing dog through the normal channels at the SPCA, radio station, veterinarians and newspapers. The sisters have put up found posters at the Stampede Grounds and information on the radio lost and found bulletin board, but so far to no avail.

There is a great mystery surrounding Freeway that the sisters hope to have resolved.

Was she a stray that was living on the streets and in the Stampede Grounds with help from well wishers? Does she have a good home somewhere with a responsible owner? And where are her puppies and how are they doing without her?

“She’s a wonderful dog and deserves a good home but it would be nice to see her reunited with her puppies, although we’d like to see her spayed and identified with a collar,” Burgess says.

In the meantime the sisters say a number of people have come forward wanting to adopt Freeway. And they have found Freeway a new home with a young family in town with the knowledge that the original owner may still claim her.

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