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Over the hills and 100 km away, dog ‘flees’ U.S. and is captured in Penticton

Barley had escaped his adoptive family in Tonasket, Washington and crossed the border
Barley, who was on the run for 10 days, was finally caught 100 kilometres from home in Penticton. He has now been returned to his owners. (Petra’s Pawdicures - Facebook)

It really was an incredible journey.

After more than 10 days covering 100 kilometres of outsmarting traps, breaking leashes and “illegally” crossing the U.S. border into Canada, Barley’s one-dog adventure came to a close in Penticton.

The Pyrenean mountain dog cross was finally convinced to take a rest on May 28 in the West Bench area, after a collaborative effort to track him down. Barley had escaped from his foster home in Tonasket, Washington, about 10 days earlier before he managed to make his way across the border.

Jacenda Byer, who runs Petra’s Pawdicures, has spent 20 years in animal rescue and was one of the local leaders in the effort to draw Barley in.

“Like everyone else, I had seen his story (on social media) and the posts when he crossed into Osoyoos and was following it,” said Byer. “My friend Darren has a drone and was willing to put in some effort. We noticed that he (Barley) was staying around West Bench, so I drove from Kelowna and said, ‘Let’s do this, let’s try to get him’.”

Tracking Barley based on sightings shared to social media, Byer’s friend Darren Sweet spent hours setting up and using his drone for a bird’s eye view of the West Bench area.

In the end, it wasn’t the drone that spotted Barley, but a local couple who had managed to get the dog to stay in one place with a bit of food.

“I went to ask if they had seen this lost dog and can I launch my drone from here, and they said ‘Oh, he’s around the corner’,” said Sweet.

However, finding Barley was only another part of the challenge. The dog was frightened and despite having been on the run for days, he still had plenty of energy in him.

Byer and her dog, Petra, spent the next several hours making Barley more comfortable with her presence until she could approach him.

“Barley would not let me close enough to grab his collar. There wasn’t a lot of space that he wanted to have humans in,” said Byer. “We used my dog, she’s very well trained, and just had her go on the outside of me, away from Barley, back and forth between us and he started to relax.”

Eventually, Byer was able to snap on a lead to Barley’s collar. From there, she continued to calm him down, pulling ticks and burrs from his fur. Despite all this effort, the pup was able to give Byer the slip and run off again. But, the good boy came back.

“He really is a remarkably freedom-wanting boy,” said Byer.

If it weren’t for a family in West Bench that was able to convince Barley to eat, Byer was certain he would have been much harder to catch.

“Without Cheryl’s family helping him feel safe in their yard, he wouldn’t have stopped, he would have kept going,” said Byer.

Byer said that she was blown away by how gentle Barley was, even when she was removing the ticks and burrs from around his lips near his teeth, he was calm.

“He honestly gave me such relief in my heart when he just laid down for me, it was just like saying thank you,” said Byer.

Transporting the large working dog would be another task for Byer, who would turn to the Penticton Animal Control team for help.

“There was no way with his lack of training and lack of socialization that I was gonna get him in a car, so I called Elizabeth (with animal control) and she didn’t hesitate,” said Byer. “Elizabeth called in her employee, who was on her day off grocery shopping, and she stopped and came up and helped and between us all, after three hours, we had him in the back of the truck with the tailgate closed on his way home.”

Barley is now on his way back home where he will have a large acreage to run on and several other dogs as companions, something that Byer is confident he can be happy with.

“Once he learns how to trust and that person is his person, he’s going to have exactly what he needs.”

READ ALSO: Penticton Creek restoration project reaches ‘important milestone’

Brennan Phillips

About the Author: Brennan Phillips

Brennan was raised in the Okanagan and is thankful every day that he gets to live and work in one of the most beautiful places in Canada.
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