A reunion outside Nanaimo’s hospital Wednesday gave the family of a Chemainus woman who was lost in the wilderness for six days a chance to thank a pivotal player in her rescue.
With the help of dozens of volunteer Search and Rescue members scouring logging roads, a specialized dog and his RCMP handler were able to locate her, immobile at the bottom of a steep embankment and save her life.
There’s a bond between “Boomer” and his RCMP handler Cst. Clay Wurzinger that even to this 11 year veteran of the force, borders on family.
“For sure, I’m a pretty proud Dad,” says Cst. Wurzinger.
So when Boomer’s nose went down, and tale shot up in the search for Irene Paquet lost for six days on the wilderness behind Chemainus, Wurzinger’s instincts and training told him his partner was on to something.
“He’s had some good catches in his career, this is definitely one of the top ones for sure. I’m a pretty proud dad,” says Cst. Wurzinger.
After an exhaustive search effort over remote woods and logging roads, volunteer search and rescue members even refusing to leave, sleeping in their trucks through the night to restart at first light, this K9 team, found her.
“She’s a strong woman and when I found the family at the hospital after I told them that. Very impressive. She lasted out there we had thunderstorms and rain storms between the time she went missing and the time she was found. That’s very impressive for a 67 year old woman,” says Cst. Wurzinger.
But the team’s colleagues at Nanaimo RCMP say this is a special partnership.
“Oh it’s incredible. It’s great,” says Cst. Jeremy Trottier.
No one thinks that more than Irene Paquet’s appreciative daughter. Meeting Boomer Wednesday for the first time, to say thanks to the team that brought her mom back from the wilderness.
“And obviously I’m so thankful for that and the persistence of the dog and Clay to keep on following it,” says Celeste Paquet. ” Things could have ended up a lot worse.”
The duo found Irene Paquet just hours after working a full night shift before. Ending a family’s nightmare in the process.