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

Improvements flowing to Sooke salmon hatchery

Sooke River Jack Brooks Hatchery hooks major funding

Police investigating string of break-ins at closed Saanich care home

Electronics, tools reported stolen from Mount Tolmie Hospital

Battle of Fairy Creek: blockade launched to save Vancouver Island old-growth

‘Forest Defenders’ occupy road to prevent logging company from reaching Port Renfrew-area watershed

UVic, rowing coach sued over alleged ‘fat shaming’ and verbal abuse

Lawsuit says Barney Williams subjected coxswain Lily Copeland to offensive and belittling language

VicPD investigating two stabbings after confrontation in Centennial Square

Two men in hospital, one with life-threatening injuries

VIDEO: Disabled Vancouver Island feline teaching foster kittens ‘how to cat’

Life goes from sour to sweet for Lemon, an adopted cat from B.C. SPCA Nanaimo

Famous Yukon-based bhangra dancer brings movements of joy to Long Beach

Infamous dancer is exploring Vancouver Island, visiting the B.C. Legislature and other destinations

COVID-19 could mean curtains for film and TV extras

Background performers worry they’re being replaced by mannequins on film and TV sets

‘Huckleberry’ the bear killed after B.C. residents admit to leaving garbage out for videos

North Shore Black Bear Society said it was local residents who created a ‘death sentence’ for bear

Researchers find cannabis use in pregnancy linked to greater risk of autism

Researchers caution findings only show association — not cause and effect

Small Manitoba town mourning after well-liked teens killed by tornado

Melita residents feeling profound grief after the deaths of Shayna Barnesky and Carter Tilbury

Antonio Banderas says he’s tested positive for coronavirus

Acclaimed actor celebrating his 60th birthday in quarantine

Parksville artist takes home Sooke Fine Arts People’s Choice Award

Francine Street’s winning piece is titled ‘Ken’

Shady Lady: legendary Catalina touches down on Vancouver Island

Two flying boats test the waters west of Youbou, make Port Alberni pitstop

Most Read