Homeward Bound

Shadow, an Austrian cattle dog from Kagawong, found his way back to his owners after getting lost recently.

Missing Kagawong pooch finds his way home to family boat in Gore Bay harbour

by Robin Burridge

MANITOULIN—Off of the movie screen and onto Manitoulin, a two-and-a-half-year-old Austrian cattle dog Shadow made a journey worthy of the silver screen last week, making his way from the farm he was staying at to his owner’s boat docked in Gore Bay.

“About a month ago when we learned that our dog care service for Shadow was moving, we put an advertisement in the paper looking for an occasional dog sitter as both my husband and I travel for work,” shared one of Shadow’s owners, who asked to go unnamed. “We had a number of responses, but a farmer in the Gore Bay area seemed like a good fit since Shadow is a cattle dog and he is high energy.”

The Kagawong couple said they took Shadow a few weeks ago for a visit to the farm to get him accustomed to where he would be staying, leaving him for just four hours his first time. After a week, they increased the stay for a full day and the placement seemed to be working well for both Shadow and the farmer.

“Last Sunday, June 5, we dropped Shadow off and he was happy to see the farmer and he brought him inside while we drove away,” the owner explained. “After a while he let Shadow out and went back inside to do some dishes.”

When the farmer returned inside, around 10 am, Shadow ran away.

“We searched everywhere for Shadow, reached out to friends who posted on Facebook, put advertisements in both The Expositor and The Recorder, contacted the OPP and EMS to keep and eye open for him on the roads and talked to the folks on the Gore Bay docks,” she said.

Shadow’s owners had been working with him to train him to know which boat was theirs at the Gore Bay Marina.

There had been no sightings other than early Sunday morning and Shadow’s owners were starting to lose hope.

“We had a call Wednesday evening from a Gore Bay resident so I was heading to the last sighting to set up a ‘comfort station’,” the owner said. “The Island has a fantastic network and someone knew someone in Winnipeg who tracks lost dogs and she had suggested setting up comfort stations for Shadow with an item of my clothing with my scent on it and food.”

While on her way to Gore Bay, she received another call, a boater at the Gore Bay Marina said they had just seen Shadow on the dock headed towards his owner’s boat.

“We don’t know how, be he somehow found his way back to us,” she said. “As an Austrian cattle dog, Shadow is very tenacious, but I have a new found respect for him after this. It’s amazing that he did this. He showed such loyalty leaving the farm and looking for us—putting himself at risk because he felt it was his mission to find us. When I got to the boat he was so happy to see me. It was a very blissful reunion.”

Shadow at home on his family boat in the Gore Bay Marina.
Shadow at home on his family boat in the Gore Bay Marina.

Navigating the Island roads could have been fatal to Shadow. His owners taught him from a young age to always sit when he saw an approaching car—a lesson that they feel probably saved him.

“I would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to everyone who supported us through this and helped bring Shadow home,” his owner concluded. “I often felt hopeless looking out at the expansive fields of the Island when we were on the roads looking for him, but the support that we got from everyone kept us positive and our hopes up. Thank you.”