Zach Regan was heading home from a camping and fishing trip Saturday along the Juan de Fuca trail with his friend when he spotted a furry creature peeking out from a cave near Magdalena Point.
“Out of my peripheral vision I saw tan legs,” said the Sooke man. “I thought it was a deer at first.”
Reagan did a double-take when he realized he was staring at a dog – he quickly jumped into action to bring his fishing boat closer to shore, while his friend Matt Johnson jumped into the water with his wetsuit and surfboard.
With a little coaxing, the dog was brought back to the boat, wrapped in a life jacket and dried off in one of their surf bags. The two buddies fed her live pate and bread buns on their way back home to Sooke.
“The poor thing was skin and bones,” said Regan. “She was shaggy, stinky and scared. She was extremely tired, but such a sweetheart. You could tell she was a nice dog that was in need of a little help.”
Without any visible identification, Regan submitted a report of a lost dog and began referring to her as Shaggy Maggy, in reference to finding her at Magdalena Point.
When Lesli Steeves, the founder of Reuniting Owners with Animals Missing (ROAM), heard about the rescue mission from the Sooke man, she was in disbelief.
“It astounds me how resilient and resourceful some animals are,” said Steeves. “I can’t imagine what would’ve happened if Zach and Matt didn’t spot her. From the photos, it was so obvious that she was so weak. She was definitely close to the edge.”
Within 24 hours of sharing Shaggy Maggy’s story, a Chemainus family reached out to Steeves and confirmed, with excitement, that their 10-year-old dog, Stella, was alive and well.
Steeves was told Stella disappeared while hiking the Juan de Fuca trail with the couple for their honeymoon in early May. The duo searched the area for five days before deciding to head back home.
On Monday morning, the family was reunited with their beloved dog, more than three months after they lost her.
“She perked right up when they saw her,” said Regan. “I’m just trying to figure out how she survived for that long. I guess it’ll be a story only she can tell.”