A feisty chihuahua spent five days and four nights in the wilderness of Banff National Park, remarkably managing to evade hungry wildlife, before she was finally found and reunited with her owner.
Bitzy escaped from her owner’s motorhome parked at the day use area at the B.C-Alberta border on the morning of June 4, and wasn’t found until five days later eight kilometres away at the Bath Creek flats, west of Lake Louise.
“She’s a very lucky dog. We’re pleasantly surprised she survived,” said James McCormick, resource conservation officer for Lake Louise, Yoho and Kootenay.
“It’s a rugged area and she would have had to avoid highway traffic, train traffic and predators and the elements over night. That’s tough of her to survive all that.”
When Bitzy first jumped out of the motorhome, her owners searched for her, but after several hours, they called Parks Canada to report she was missing. Parks helped with an initial search.
“She was not seen by anybody,” said McCormick.
About 2 p.m. on June 8, a park resource conservation officer noticed a dog running along the north side of the Trans-Canada Highway near Bath Creek flats.
The dog was causing traffic to slow down and stop. Other park resource conservation officers were called in.
“We quickly and safely stopped the rest of the traffic and tried to corral Bitzy, but despite being out for days, she was feisty and wasn’t running immediately for human comfort, and she did not want to get picked up,” said McCormick.
“She’d developed her survival instincts and when we tried to catch her she was more snappy than cuddly, which is understandable.”
When Bitzy was finally caught, she was put in a vehicle and wrapped in a jacket for warmth and comfort. It was only then that she settled down and stopped struggling.
Park staff took the chihuahua back to the office in Lake Louise and gave her food and water.
They called the owners, who came out from Calgary that evening to pick up their dog.
“There was a lot of tail wagging when they reunited,” said McCormick.
“We were happy and excited that we were able to bring her back to her owner.”
Bitzy is an amateur performance dog. Her owner could not be reached for comment by press time.