Last Sunday, about a dozen volunteers searched the fields west of Timbermere between Hazeldean and Rothbourne for Holly the Goldendoodle.
She’s the dog who went missing back in December on the Trans Canada Trail near Abbott Street. Her owners, the Rennie family, have put up posters, placed ads in newspapers, and contacted Humane Societies all over eastern Ontario in an effort to find her.
Lisa Gallant is one of the volunteers helping with the search. She set up a Finding Holly group on Facebook to help organize the efforts, which now include trail cameras and even drone videography.
STITTSVILLECENTRAL.CA: How did you get involved in the search?
LISA GALLANT: I saw the posting of Holly in December and my heart went out to the Rennie’s. I have two doodles myself and can’t imagine them being on their own. As time went by, I assumed that Holly had been found. When the sighting of her at Sobey’s was posted and I saw the number of people who were engaged in that thread, I decided to create the Finding Holly page to coordinate a search effort.
SC: How many people are helping out and some of the techniques you’re using?
LG: There are dozens of people who have taken the time to hand out flyers/posters, talk to people, and randomly walk the streets in the neighbourhood. As well as the dozen that showed up for a coordinated search on the weekend, there are many more who download and print the flyer themselves. We are in touch with Kevin McCormack of Tracker’s Edge, who has provided invaluable advice. There’s a local resident with a drone who volunteered to get video of the areas, as well as coming out to help search. We have two people with trail cams who have generously donated their time to set them up and check them each day. We have a live animal trap that will be used when Holly’s location is narrowed down a bit more.
SC: Have there been confirmed sightings?
LG: There are three unconfirmed sightings. One in front of Sobey’s near the garbage cans two weeks ago Thursday, another (two days prior) at the edge of the soccer field next to Sobey’s, and a third sighting between those two near the 417/7 split. She went missing from the Trans Canada Trail area off of Abbott Street and it’s possible she holed up on the golf course during the winter, or one of the quarries in the area.
SC: If people think they see Holly what should they do?
LG: If she is spotted, people should call 613-292-1722 immediately. Try to get a picture of her. Do not chase her but try to quietly follow to keep her in sight.
SC: When’s the next search party?
LG: At this point large groups of people searching would be counter-productive. Too much activity could scare her away to find a safer place. The odds of a search group finding her are slim. The best thing people can do to help is keep sharing Holly’s flyer, whether that be through social media or hitting the streets.
SC: Any other info you think our readers would like to know?
LG: Anytime a stray dog is spotted, people need to report it. Beyond calling the OHS, they should immediately call 311. In Holly’s case, her family is finding it difficult to believe that she disappeared for months without a single sighting. The problem is that people have seen her, but they did not know what to do with that information.
For example, the woman who reported the Sobey’s sighting? She can’t be the only person that saw her that day as she took off running through the parking lot, yet no one else called in a report. Same with the soccer field sighting (this was a young employee from Sobey’s who saw her). There were other people out in the park, and even this young lad did not think to report it, even when he saw Holly’s poster five days later. It was a random encounter with a volunteer that elicited that information.
We want to stress that Holly will not look the same now. She will have lost a considerable amount of weight, probably 40%-%50 of her body weight, and that she is very dirty and possibly limping. There are a few dogs in the neighbourhood that resemble her quite a bit, including her litter-mate Beau who is almost identical.