Lost dog swims Columbia River multiple times searching for home

Jasper spent three days lost and swimming across the Columbia River near Genelle? Photo: Steve Smith
Jasper was reunited with his owners Mary and Brent Hummel. Photo: Steve Smith
Jasper was reunited with his owners Mary and Brent Hummel. Photo: Steve Smith

A Great Pyrenees dog has been reunited with his family after spending three days lost around Castlegar and swimming back and forth across the Columbia River.

Mary Hummel first noticed her dog Jasper was missing from their South Castlegar home early in the morning on Friday, July 3. She immediately began searching the neighbourhood and posting on social media.

“He is hard to miss, since he is white and weighs 140 pounds,” said Hummel.

The first report of a sighting came in from a boater later that day. He had seen Jasper on the banks of the Columbia River across from Genelle. Hummel searched the area, but was not able to find the dog.

The next sighting was reported Saturday morning, this time back on the other side of the river in Genelle. Once again Hummell rushed to find the dog, but without success. The scenario repeated itself several times throughout Saturday.

“He is a three year old that had never been away from home and he was really scared, so when he was approached by people, he fled,” she explained.

READ MORE: Dog, missing for weeks, rescued from cliff near Castlegar

Later Saturday, Hummel was called by some campers who had seen Jasper floating down the river, once again on the opposite side from Genelle. They coaxed him to shore and he remained at their camp site for a while. But by the time a boater from Genelle took the owners across the river to rescue him, Jasper had disappeared again. The campers reported Jasper was weak, and had refused the food they had offered.

“We searched for a long time, but the country is so rugged, we did not find him,” said Hummel.

Sunday was a long day for Hummel as sighting of Jasper stopped coming in.

“We both thought he maybe succumbed to the river,” she said.

“We prayed and cried for a miracle.”

Finally, two more calls came in, both near the campsite where Jasper was last seen on Saturday. Hummel’s husband Brent bushwhacked looking for him, again all to no avail.

A Genelle resident then approached the Hummels, offering the use of his drone to search for the dog.

“We knew this might be Jasper’s last chance, so we came back with a guy that could report GPS coordinates,” said Hummel.

But the search was unsuccessful.

With plans to go back out the next day, the Hummels headed back towards Castlegar.

One of them said, “This isn’t like Hollywood, where your dog just comes out of the woods running toward you.”

But, that is exactly what happened.

“A miracle happened,” said Hummel. “Right in the middle of the road — there was Jasper.”

Hummel says Jasper is very weak, has lost weight and has sore paws, but otherwise is doing fine.

She says the real heroes of the story are the residents of Genelle, who along with other boaters and campers continued to help search and try to rescue Jasper.

“They shone as a community,” said Hummel.

“The community of Genelle came alive. I am so thankful.”



betsy.kline@castlegarnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

castlegarPets

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Island riders conquering new heights

With no races, cyclists tackle Everest challenge to lift community

Saanich police search for suspect accused of using stolen credit, debit cards

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers says suspect made numerous fraudulent purchases

Homeless woman sentenced to 18 months in jail for selling drugs to Victoria police officer

Officer paid $20 for a substance consisting of heroin, fentanyl and caffeine

Family restaurant to hold Saturday fundraiser for Beirut blast

Wrap and Roll will donate all sales to victims of blast

Police looking for witnesses of alleged assault in Burnside Gorge’s Cecila Ravine

Concerned woman pushed to the ground, had phone broken while taking a photo of a dog

53 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths cap off week of high infection rates in B.C.

Roughly 1,500 people are self-isolating because they either have COVID-19 or have been exposed to it

Fitness non-profit challenges citizens to invent a game to be physically active

The campaign was launched after a study showed only 4.8 per cent of children and youths in Canada met required standards of the 24-hour movement guidelines

VIDEO: U.S. Air Force pilot does fly-by for B.C. son amid COVID border separation

Sky-high father-son visit plays out over White Rock Pier

3 Vancouver police officers test positive for COVID after responding to large party

Union president says other officers are self-isolating due to possible exposure

Vancouver Island team takes on wacky challenges of world’s largest scavenger hunt

Greatest International Scavenger Hunt taking place Aug. 1-8

New mothers with COVID-19 should still breastfeed: Canada’s top doctor

Dr. Theresa Tam made the recommendation during World Breastfeeding Awareness Week

Collapse of Nunavut ice shelf ‘like losing a good friend:’ glaciologist

The ice shelf on the northwestern edge of Ellesmere Island has shrunk 43 per cent

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Aug. 4

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Should it be mandatory to wear masks when out in public?

B.C. is witnessing an alarming rise in the number of cases of… Continue reading

Most Read