Two emaciated and terrified dogs rescued from a remote B.C. island are now recovering thanks to the heartwarming efforts of workers at a nearby fish farm.
Three workers from a Mowi fish farm off the coast of Port McNeill were passing Minstrel Island last Friday when they noticed movement on a distant beach.
“Is that a wolf or is that a dog?” one of the rescuers, Ashley Riley, can be heard asking on the video she was shooting.”It’s kind of hard to see from this far away but it kind of looks like he has folded ears.”
Riley and two other co-workers were travelling by boat from the farm in Knight Inlet when they made the discovery.
“At first I thought it was a regular dog but there’s no way it would have survived out here,” Riley recalls.
As they got closer and closer to shore, the group realized the animals were in fact two very malnourished dogs.
Realizing they had to do something, it took the workers five hours to gain the dogs’ trust and rescue them.
They spent the time throwing fish pellets on shore for the dogs to eat and eventually hand-fed them and made leashes out of rope to guide the animals into their boat.
“We were surprised that they had survived out there for that long. It’s very remote out there,” says Riley. “They were very skinny, you could see their ribs and their hip bones and their spine and everything.”
Despite their emaciated state, the dogs were never hostile toward their rescuers.
“They never showed any aggression, like no biting or anything. They were very scared,” says Riley.
The group eventually took the dogs to their nearby float house on the fish farm where their condition began to improve.
A few days later, Mowi made a special three-hour boat trip to take the dogs to a vet in Port McNeill, where a local animal rescue group was waiting.
Jill Laviolette, part of the animal rescue group, believes the dogs rescued from Minstrel Island may have been on their own island-hopping for up to six weeks.
“Judging by the dog’s behaviour and how incredibly intelligent they are and how much will they’ve had to stay alive, and knowing how wild animals, bears and cougars and wolves will follow food trails from island to island, I believe it’s not too far fetched to believe that that might have been what happened,” says Laviolette.
The original owner of the nine-month-old dogs has been contacted and it appears they had been re-homed.
The circumstances of their abandonment on the island are unclear, but there is evidence that the dogs may have also been abused.
Riley credited the Mowi team of Krystyna Rebecca Podlasly, Dalynn St. Pierre and Dave Legault for helping get the rescued dogs to greater care in Port McNeill, adding that Mountainaire Avian Rescue Society in Merville was instrumental in soliciting help from Laviolette.
They are now up for adoption and inquiries can be sent to [email protected].