The search for a dog lost on Mount Prevost just outside Duncan on Jan. 25 has now extended almost 100 kilometres north.
Searchers are looking for Keno, a four-year-old husky/shepherd cross in the Coombs area, after what is considered a reputable sighting of Keno, with his leash still attached to his collar, at the Coombs Country Campground several days after his disappearance licking the grill of a barbecue at a campsite.
Owner Jesse McMaster, who is from Duncan, said there have been numerous reports of Keno being seen in the Coombs and Whiskey Creek areas over the last several days, with the latest at about 11 a.m. on Feb. 2 in the Nanoose area, but that sighting was not confirmed, nor were most of the others other than one at the campground.
McMaster said he’s confident the sighting at the campsite was of Keno because the lady who claimed to have seen him there described his collar and leash perfectly, and the fact that he has one brown eye and one blue eye.
“I’ve been spending my days driving up and down roads in the area, keeping my eyes peeled for Keno and hoping for the best,” said McMaster, who has taken time off from work to continue the search for his best friend.
“I really appreciate the help of the people from ROAM BC [an organization that helps reunite lost animals with their owners], the Arrowsmith Animal Resource Foundation and volunteers who are helping out with the search up and down the Island. Everyone is rallying to help find Keno and it’s all very touching.”
McMaster was walking Keno on the trails on Mount Prevost when the dog saw an elk, pulled the leash he was on out of McMaster’s hands and chased the elk up the mountain.
McMaster tried to pursue the dog, which was pulling the 10-foot leash behind him, but lost him and he hasn’t seen Keno since, despite exhaustively searching every day.
Lesli Steeves, a member of ROAM, which got involved in the search shortly after Keno’s disappearance, said it’s possible that Keno made contact with a group of transients known to camp on Mount Prevost close to where Keno was last seen who drive between the Cowichan Valley and Coombs often. The theory is Keno may have been taken to the Coombs area with them.
She said it’s also possible that Keno followed the power lines all the way to Coombs.
“It’s possible be could have made it to Coombs by following the power lines even with the leash on,” Steeves said.
“We had a dog from Parksville who ran loose for a whole month with a leash on without getting itself permanently caught up on anything. They can do it, somehow. We’ll keep following through with other sightings and weed through them until we finally find Keno.”
McMaster said he’s confident Keno will be found.
He said Keno is smart and physically built to easily handle the weather on Vancouver Island.
McMaster said if anyone spots Keno, don’t approach him.
“Keno will likely run away immediately because he’ll only go to people he knows,” he said.
If someone sees Keno, or thinks they have seen him, they should call ROAM at 778-977-6260 or 778-977-6265.