Bertie spent 11 days on Sumas Mountain after getting separated from his dog walker on Sumas Mountain in Abbotsford on Jan. 18. (Submitted photo)

Bertie the ‘Wonder Dog’ survives 11 days on B.C. mountain

Pooch runs away in Abbotsford area known for coyotes and cougars

Bertie is a fluffy, snugly, lovable pooch who adores attention and hates to be alone.

He’s just 10 months old and is a small dog – he’s a Coton de Tulear (similar to a Maltese) – who normally weighs about 11 pounds.

But his family has now dubbed him “Bertie the Wonder Dog” after the little guy survived 11 days on Abbotsford’s Sumas Mountain– an area roamed by coyotes and which has had numerous cougar and bobcat sightings over the years.

Owner Alix Gray and her husband (who doesn’t want his name published due to his line of work) are still amazed that Bertie was located safe and sound on Tuesday afternoon.

“We are still in awe of our little survivor,” Gray said.

Bertie’s adventure began on Friday, Jan. 18, when he was off-leash with his dog walker – Gray and her husband were at work for the day – along a trail in Sumas Mountain Regional Park.

Bertie became separated and, when the dog walker noticed he was gone, she spent a long while trying to locate him before calling Gray, who rushed to the scene.

Gray spotted Bertie in the distance, in a forested area, and blew her whistle and called him, but he ran away.

She notified her husband, who also showed up, and the trio – along with Gray’s sister – spent hours trying to locate Bertie, to no avail.

They left the scene when darkness fell and the parking lot gates were closed, but Gray’s husband returned later to spend the night in his vehicle. He called for Bertie and listened for sounds, hoping that the pooch would turn up, but there were no sightings of him.

That weekend, the couple’s two kids stayed with their grandparents, while the pair again staked out the area and spent the night in their vehicle.

At one point, Gray came across a website for Petsearchers Canada, which is described as a “pet detective and bloodhound tracking service committed to the task of reuniting lost and stolen pets with their families.”

RELATED: Incredible effort by amateur pet detectives brings home lost B.C. dog

RELATED: Missing B.C. hiker, dog found safe after 3-day search

Gray contacted the Surrey-based company and spoke with owner Al MacLellan, who told her that even if they spotted Bertie, he would likely continue to run away from them because he was in survival mode.

MacLellan suggested they not go looking for Bertie, but wait for Bertie to instead come to them. He reassured them that a dog could survive the conditions and, as long there was no evidence to the contrary, they shouldn’t give up hope.

He set up multiple cameras in the area and four live traps that would enclose Bertie if he grabbed at the rigged-up piece of meat inside. MacLellan also displayed numerous highly visible “missing pet” posters around the traps and in the general area.

Meanwhile, word about Bertie’s disappearance was making the rounds on social media after the couple posted about it on a Facebook page for their neighbourhood, and the post, which included their cellphone numbers, was shared multiple times.

Over the next several days, numerous people came out to help the couple in the search for Bertie, while others sent them encouraging messages and phone calls.

Gray’s husband continued to stay at the site most nights and was joined, or replaced by, family members and friends.

Bertie didn’t appear for any of them, but he was spotted on Jan. 23 around noon by a jogger on an access road to the Squid Line trail and the following day around 2 p.m. by a driver on the main road going up the mountain.

Bertie also showed up in one video clip – also during the day – as he was walking along the road. The footage also captured coyotes at various times, but this information was not shared with the couple until after Bertie was caught.

A troubling setback occurred on Monday (Jan. 28), when vandals ripped up all the posters and threw the four traps down a ravine.

Gray said this was the point when they started to lose hope, but MacLellan encouraged them to keep going.

Her husband climbed down the ravine and retrieved the broken traps. He and his dad fixed one of them, using an arm of a pair of sunglasses, and set it up with some fresh meat.

On Tuesday afternoon, Gray received a phone call from a Shaw cable worker who was driving in the area.

He told her that Bertie was in a trap on the service road. Gray couldn’t believe it, and asked the man if he could stay with Bertie until she got there. She then phoned her husband, and they drove to the scene separately, each arriving to find a group of people surrounding Bertie’s cage.

Three women who had heard about Bertie had gone to the area to help look for him, and discovered that he had already been trapped.

Gray’s husband arrived first, and she was next. Bertie began whining and jumping when he spotted the couple, and it was an emotional scene.

“I was in shock. My husband was in shock. We both started crying immediately,” Gray said.

Bertie was thin and scruffy but otherwise seemed in good health. A trip to the vet’s that night confirmed he had lost about two pounds, and he is now taking medication for his kidneys and liver, but he should make a full recovery.

Gray describes Bertie as the “sweetest, kindest” dog they have ever had and who has a “gentle soul.” She said they went to such measures to get him back because he is an integral part of their family.

“We knew he was there and we would not – and could not – leave him out there without doing absolutely everything we could to try to help him come home,” she said.

“He is more than a dog to us – he is absolutely a family member.”

The couple also said they are grateful for the knowledge of MacLellan and are overwhelmed by the support from the community – from people who came out to help search for Bertie to the messages and phone calls they received.

“We have never felt more connected to our community and our friends and our family, and our lost dog has become a found faith in the kindness and goodness of people,” Gray said.

 

Bertie spent 11 days on Sumas Mountain after getting separated from his dog walker on Sumas Mountain in Abbotsford on Jan. 18. (Submitted photo)

Bertie is shown here on Tuesday, Jan. 29 after finally being trapped in a crate that had been set out for him. (Submitted photo)

Just Posted

Draft business case for Surrey-Langley SkyTrain to be ready July 25

The Mayors’ Council on Regional Transportation heard a progress update Thursday

U.S. inn owner, charged with smuggling people into Canada, granted bail

Robert Joseph Boule ordered to turn away anyone indicating a plan to enter Canada illegally

Trial delayed for former Cloverdale pastor and wife charged with sex assault

Trial for Samuel and Madelaine Emerson will be continued in September

Cloverdale’s newly named Henry Houston Scott Park opens

Park named for African-American settlers who came to Surrey in 1912

RCMP arrest Surrey man following threatening Vaisakhi Facebook post

Post made reference to pressure cooker bomb at parade

VIDEO: Large dust devil swirls through town in B.C.’s interior

Residents look on as column climbs about 90 feet into the air

Port Moody mayor accused of sexual assault has first court appearance

Rob Vagramov’s case was adjourned to May 29

Second dump site of Dungeness crab discovered in northern B.C.

DFO confident new site related to larger April 2 dump

North Delta happenings: week of April 25

Events and community listings for North Delta

Northern B.C. high school student reaches 100,000 followers on YouTube

Voice actor, animator, Jericho Fortune has more than 30-million views on his channel GTAGAMER222

Handcrafted paper gowns on display in Vancouver

Langara students designs inspired by esigners such as Versace, Dior and Gucci

University mourns student who died in B.C. canoeing accident

Andrew Milner, 19, was in his second year with the University of Calgary’s basketball program

B.C. woman pleads for people to stop stealing daffodils meant to honour cancer victims

Cynthia Bentley honours memory of those lost to cancer by planting 100 daffodils each year

Most Read