Over 300 searchers spent more than two days looking for a Canadian woman and a trio of dogs who went missing in a back-country area of Coquitlam, British Columbia. Finally, on the third day, a grim start later turned into hope and then relief, after rescuers heard the dogs barking in an area off-limits to hikers during a sound sweep.
On Nov. 20, experienced Canadian dog walker Annette Poitras, 56, was walking three dogs—Chloe the border collie, Bubba the beagle-pug, and Roxy the boxer—in the British Columbia backcountry, behind Coquitlam’s Westwood Plateau, when she fell into a marshy basin and hurt herself, according to a report on Global News.
Unfortunately, Annette lost her cell phone and gloves in the process.
And owing to the injuries sustained from the fall, Annette wasn’t able to hike to safety.
Her husband reported her missing, and soon, a group rescue team consisting of 300 searchers conducted an extensive search to locate Annette.
Annette was left stranded for more than 48 hours in the rain-drenched wilderness with the three dogs by her side.
Finally, on Wednesday at around 11:15 a.m., some rescuers managed to find Annette after hearing her faint cries for help and the dogs’ loud barking in a marshy basin in a watershed area off-limits to hikers.
“She was found by a sound sweep. And then the dogs lit up and started barking extensively so we knew we were on the right path,” Coquitlam Search and Rescue (SAR) manager Al Hurley told The Globe and Mail.
At around 2:00 p.m., Annette and the three dogs were airlifted to safety. Their return was greeted with loud cheers from family and supporters.
“It’s just an overwhelming joy,” Aidon Pyne of Coquitlam Search and Rescue told CTV Vancouver.
Annette was then taken to hospital, whilst the three dogs were safely returned to their respective owners, Vancouver Sun reported.
Annette’s husband, Marcel Poitras, gave thanks to the search and rescue teams, and the community for their support. He also credited the three dogs, who stayed by Annette’s side throughout the ordeal, for her survival.
“One of them was cuddling [her] and one of them was on guard and the other one was looking for food,” Marcel told Global News.
“She happened to notice one of the dogs was digging a hole to sleep in,” Marcel added. “So she started sweeping away all the brush and everything to get down into the dirt and kind of made herself a little well to sleep in.”
“She was barking and barking,” Annette said of Roxy the boxer, in an interview with CBC News. “I couldn’t call, I was too weak.”
Annette was subsequently discharged from the Royal Columbian Hospital the following Tuesday.
“I’m just so glad to be alive,” she said.