It is a story that has riveted cottagers, locals and animal lovers in Apsley and beyond since September 2nd. That is the night a Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever named Jack went missing in the Apsley area near Peterborough.
Jack is just over one year old and he didn't have a microchip. He was wearing a black collar, and ran away after being scared (likely by fireworks, his parents Andrew and Anjelica Kotsopoulos say) from a cottage on Martin Lane that they were renting, and was last seen on Balmer Road near Highway 28.
A Facebook page called Jack Is Back Home was set up September 6th by Andrew and Anjelica that they thought would help with the search as they don't live in Apsley (they reside in Mississauga, Ont.).
This is Jack with his owners before he went missing...
The Facebook page created drew over 1,300 fans to it who became a part of the search, and helped spread the word about sightings and tips of Jack as the weeks went by—and helped connect those who were searching for Jack.
It also inspired others to create posters in the Apsley area to help find Jack.
The first solid sighting of Jack was revealed in a Facebook post on September 8th...
In a subsequent Facebook post, Andrew and Anjelica revealed that Jack is a real fighter—already a miracle dog—which gives them hope...
"When we first got our puppy Jack, he had a terrible life threatening disease called Parvovirus. He was so weak and we felt helpless because of the state he was in. Fortunately our breeder took excellent care of him and he was strong enough to recover... we were overwhelmed with happiness when we found out that he would be okay when unfortunately some of the other puppies in the litters did not make it.. we were very thankful that we were able to have him back and honestly felt that he was a miracle puppy.. we thought the worst was behind us and that jack or ourselves wouldn't have to go through anything as horrible again. We truly feel like Jack is still our miracle puppy and hope he gets returned to us soon."
Jack as a puppy
Andrew and Anjelica never gave up, posting regularly to the Facebook page and imploring people in the Apsley area to check in their shed, boathouse, shoreline, under their decks... everywhere where a dog could be hiding.
The couple themselves regularly returned to the area, searching for Jack, getting the word out to people and putting up posters themselves.
With their desperation growing, on September 12th—10 heartwrenching days after Jack went missing—the couple set up a GoFundMe page (the money raised would be used to make more signs to post in all major surrounding cities near Apsley, newspaper ads, mobile advertising, and to get a tracker out in Apsley to help lure Jack to civilization so he can be spotted) and announced a large reward for Jack.
In that announcement, the couple laid bare their feelings of what Jack means to their family and divulged more about their own passion for life—she a teacher, he a business owner—and their will to help others...
SEPTEMBER 24th (3 weeks since Jack went missing)
In a Facebook post that day, the couple thanked AID 4 PAWS - Search and Recovery and France Lajeunesse for coming to meet them in Apsley that weekend to help set up trail cameras, leaving them with a trap and spending the time helping the couple walk through some potential paths of where Jack could have wandered to.
OCTOBER 7th (MORE THAN A MONTH HAS PASSED SINCE JACK WENT MISSING)
In a Facebook post, the couple announce there have been no sightings of Jack of late, and that he did not show up on any of the trail cams. Hunting season has begun—and their hope was Jack would be spooked out of hiding and into view of people. Andrew and Anjelica refuse to give up, still posting, still postering in the area, still spreading the word. Perserving. Like they hope Jack is.
They included a map showing trails with green dots where he's been previously seen, and even included pictures of what his paw print would look like on trails...
On October 9th, the couple revealed that a solid lead they had received in Woodview turned out now not to be their dog, but a local dog returned to their family.
A subsequent post reminds the public that Jack is very skittish, compounding recovering efforts: "He is exhibiting typical signs of being in full 'survival' mode. This means he likely won't just walk up to someone or respond to usual stimulus such as calling him, whistling, squeaky toys...etc...these would actually have the opposite effect."
OCTOBER 21: THE MIRACLE DAY
It has been 7 weeks—49 days—since Jack went missing, but the day everyone hoped for, the Hollywood ending, arrives when Jack is found on a tiny island in a swampy duck pond (more on that below).
Jack, The Fighter, has lost quite a bit of weight—about 13 pounds—but he's alive. Here he is being lured just prior to securing...
The couple made this heartfelt Facebook post about Jack's return:
"Andrew and I are in disbelief, and we are overwhelmed with happiness and relief to have our sweet puppy home with us. We are beyond grateful for Kyle, Max and Jake who came across Jack on a tiny island in a swampy duck pond off of Balmer and Blue Heron when they were on a canoe. They were able to contain and stay with Jack for 2 hours until Andrew and I made it up. Andrew did an amazing job staying calm when trying to get him on a leash and Jack was exhausted, yet still very happy to see us. France from AID 4 PAWS - Search and Recovery blew us away with her caring heart, knowledge and generosity. If anyone is ever put in this situation, we strongly recommend France and her team to help as this is the best option available in our personal experience. Kim from Apsley Veterinary Services and the team at Kawartha Veterinary Emergency Clinic were very compassionate, thorough and helpful in ensuring that he was okay. Despite losing 13 pounds, his blood results showed that he was still relatively healthy. Again, we would like to thank everyone in the Apsley area for coming together as a community and supporting us through this heart wrenching time. We also appreciate everyone everyone who followed us on our Facebook page for giving us your hope, prayers and positivity. Andrew and I have been uplifted with how many heartwarming people we’ve met in this journey and we will never forget how much this has helped to bring Jack home to us.
October 21st is truly a memorable day, it was actually this date last year that Andrew and I picked up Jack from our breeders when he had recovered from Parvo…! We haven’t stopped cuddling with him since. Jack truly is a warrior and is our miracle puppy... we are forever grateful to have him back in our arms."
Here is the miracle dog Jack home again...
AID 4 PAWS - Search and Recovery gave further details on the dramatic rescue in a Facebook post...
"Wow, what a day! What a great day!
Jack, a 1.5yrs old Duck Tolling Retriever went missing while cottaging in Apsley ON, Sept 2nd 2017. Up until today, there was only a couple of confirmed sightings. A lot of work went into the search for him, including Trackers Edge Kevin who came out with his tracking dogs, locals who walked the trails, John, Sandra & Pamela who helped monitor trail cams, Sherri for getting us female Tollers pheromones, our tracking/postering/consult/support of the family, and all the shares online.
Today, Jack was spotted on a tiny island just past a heavy swamp that was difficult to get at. Kyle, while canoeing, saw him, got on the island and attempted luring. At first Jack was very untrusting, but Kyle knew just what to do, based on our advice over the phone to Andrew who related it to him while we were en route to the site: get to his level, speak sweetly, and feed him trying to gain his trust. It took quite some time, but he was able to put a makeshift leash on him and keep him secured until his owner’s arrival. Andrew & Anjelica got there quickly, secured a water craft & had the coyote trap with them in case needed. But Jack quickly recognized Andrew & came right to him!
To get off this island was pretty tricky, and Andrew held on very tight to Jack on the ride back. They made it safely to shore and headed to the Kawartha Veterinary Emergency Clinic in Peterborough, where we met them. Dr Jones was great, and did a thorough exam. Jack lost approx 12lbs, had no ticks, and his blood tests came back pretty normal in spite of his journey. What a lucky boy!
We want to thank everyone who assisted in any way, shape or form, whether physically or online, through support and prayers. And especially Kyle for doing such a good job!
49 days!! 7 weeks to the day!! NEVER GIVE UP!!
Welcome back home Jack"
More on the amazing Jack in this video...
Never give up. Jack didn't. His owners Andrew and Anjelica didn't. Everyone who helped didn't.
Miracles do happen.
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