It was late September when Jim Third’s dog Vader ran away from his home in Brooks, Alta., beginning the family’s six-week long search across the city.
“The first two or three days I must’ve put in eight or ten hours of walking up and down the ditches,” Third told CTV Calgary.
On the morning Vader disappeared, Third said he was working near the Trans-Canada Highway. Vader was scouring through a weed patch filled with rabbits and rodents before wandering off.
“He’s usually really good. He stays within a 100-yard radius,” Third said. “We saw him at 11:30 a.m. At 12:00 p.m. we went to go for lunch and he was gone.”
The Thirds visited veterinary clinics, animal protection services, and neighbours’ homes in search of their missing ranch dog, but they had no luck.
More than a month later, through the help of a Facebook group for missing dogs, the Thirds received the news they’d been hoping for: someone had spotted Vader in Steinbach, Man.
The two-year-old dog had somehow crossed two provinces and ended up 1,200 kilometers away from its home in Brooks, Alta. The total distance would have taken 12 hours to drive or 10 days to walk.
Despite its lengthy adventure, Manitoba dog breeder Brent Thomas, one of Vader’s rescuers, said the dog was well-behaved and “settled right in” at the kennel. Trucking group Furry Hobos N Highway Heroes later helped bring Vader home, where it reunited with the Thirds on Thursday.
Although it’s still unclear how Vader made it all the way to Manitoba, the dog is now in good health and at home once again. The Thirds say it feels like their family is whole again.
“[It’s] indescribable,” Third told CTV Calgary. “He’s a member of your family and he was gone that long. You don’t realize what a good dog you have – what a good anything you have – until it’s gone.”
With a report from CTV Calgary