Deaf, senior dog gets home after five days lost in the forest

Willow, a Kelowna dog that went missing five days ago, is home.

A 16-year-old border collie cross that had been lost in the forest for the better part of a week is currently at home, lying in bed and keeping a close eye on her human companion.

“She’s tired and has one cut on her eye, but other than that she’s in good shape,” said Amber Lee Bahm, who had been searching non-stop for her dog Willow since she went missing at Deer Lake.

“She was gone five days and five nights. I wasn’t going to give up trying to find her but I had given up hope she was going to be found alive. I just wanted closure. She’s 16 and deaf and I can barely can take her for walks because she can’t walk very far. It’s unreal that she was wandering around the forest for five days.”

Bahm said she’s never felt such “incredible elation” as she did the moment she realized that Willow had found a way to survive her circumstances.

She received a call Friday night at 6 p.m. that the dog was found three kilometres outside the Deer Lake campground where she’d gone missing, at the Mile 27 marker. When the collar and nametag description matched her pup, she got in her car and drove straight there.

“I walked down to the road to this cabin, and Willow was standing there waiting for me,” she said.

The deputy chief of the Elison Fire Department had found Willow that day, took her in, gave her water and some food and they waited for Bahm — something she will be eternally grateful for.

She’s also grateful for the outpouring of support she’s received since her story was widely shared across social media.

“I’d be out searching and I’d run into people and say ‘I’m looking for my dog’ and they would say ‘I know, I’m out here looking for her, too,;” she said.

When she would get home, she’d check her answering service, and there would be give messages from people who had advice on how to find her or just some encouraging words.

“I was just blown away,” she said. “This has restored my faith in humanity.”

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