NNSL Photo/Graphic

Canadian North

Home page text size buttonsbigger textsmall textText size Email this articleE-mail this page

Home after 13 days outside
Family reunited with dog caught in trap baited with McMuffin

Danielle Sachs
Northern News Services
Published Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Sleepless nights and days of worrying came to a joyful end at lunch time yesterday when lost dog Trixie was re-united with her owner 13 days after she bolted through an open door in a strange city.

NNSL photo/graphic

Caitlin McGurk, 18, left, sits with Trixie, who was missing for 13 days before being captured in a live trap on Thursday morning. Her mom Mary Tapsell sits with Sam, a dog rescued from Fort Smith. - Danielle Sachs/NNSL photo

Mary Tapsell and her daughter, 18-year-old Caitlin McGurk, adopted the brown-and-white mixed breed dog, believed to be around three years old, on Jan. 11 from Hay River. She came to Yellowknife on a Buffalo Air flight and spent most of the first day indoors in her new home on School Draw Avenue.

Somehow, Trixie escaped through a briefly opened front door and that night, as the temperature plunged to -47 C with the wind chill, Tapsell and McGurk worried about their new family member, knowing that she had yet to develop a sense of home.

As days turned into a week, people reported seeing Trixie on the streets of Yellowknife.

"We heard from people that had seen her around Con Mine and then later in the downtown area," said Tapsell. "People from cab companies or Purolator would say they were keeping an eye out and we'd get updates about where Trixie was seen. But she would just run away. We heard she was seen playing with a fox and also other dogs on Rat Lake."

A Facebook page called Bring Trixie Home was created by Tapsell and 200 people started following the ordeal, watching the social media site for sightings and posting comments of encouragement.

Tia Hanna, owner and operator of Happy Pooch Pet Services, was sent a link to the Facebook page and decided to help out.

She has experience with trapping live dogs and offered her assistance since Trixie kept running away when people tried to catch her.

"I couldn't be sleeping while thinking of the dog," Hanna said, who has trapped three live dogs previously.

A trap was borrowed from the city's bylaw department and set up near Bison Estates, but Trixie wouldn't approach it, said Tapsell. People volunteered to watch the trap, which had to be monitored constantly.

The trap was moved to a private residence on Forrest Drive but there was still no luck. So Hanna decided to try it out near Bison Estates again on Thursday morning.

"(Tapsell) had told me Trixie would follow people with garbage bags, so we baited the trap with a sausage-and-egg McMuffin, kind of still in the wrapper," Hanna said Thursday afternoon.

Trixie was found in the trap shortly after lunchtime Thursday, still wearing the tan bandana McGurk tied around her neck on her first day in Yellowknife.

While a little thin and thirsty, Trixie seemed to be in good health.

"There's no frostbite or anything. I don't know how she kept warm or where she slept," said Tapsell.

"It was so cold I woke up every morning with a knot in my stomach."

Tapsell credits the many Yellowknifers for their support, either through reported sightings and volunteer shifts to watch the trap, with helping to bring Trixie home.

"The support, encouragement and the eyes was just amazing," she said.

E-mailWe welcome your opinions. Click here to e-mail a letter to the editor.