As Mathieu Letourneau and Guillaume Lefevre drove by the Siberian husky now dubbed “Willow”, they couldn’t determine if she was a coyote or a wolf, or a dog. Yet unlike other motorists who kept driving, the couple halted.
“I decided to turn around and the dog was laying there simply given up — barely moving,” recalled Letourneau, “It was just hungry to death and needed something warm.”
The two men approached Willow gently and provided the only thing they had, a Subway sandwich. The startled dog eagerly ate it right off the stranger’s hand.
Letourneau and Lefevre couldn’t believe how neglected the Siberian husky was.
“She was in awful shape. She had knots all everywhere. She had areas of dirt. She was filthy and smelly. She looked like a dog that had been outside her whole life.”
“She looked like she got into a fight,” remarked Lefevre.
Yet Willow was not a fugitive dog that had lived outside her whole life, she was owned by a university student in his twenties who lives in Coquitlam.
The BC SPCA got a tip from a neighbour of the owner who recognized the dog after viewing media video. Animal cruelty investigators think they have enough evidence to press through with animal cruelty charges under both the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act and the Criminal Code of Canada.
The small dog, thought to be one or two years old, weighed 15 kilos when she was found on Jan. 31, compared to a normal weight of roughly 24 kilograms for a dog her age and breed.
Authorities with the BC SPCA say she likely had another 24 hours to live. She is getting better and with therapy and support will likely recover.
“She wouldn’t have lasted much longer. She was falling over, could hardly stand when she was brought up,” says Eileen Drever, the BC SPCA’s senior animal protection officer.
There was yet again another weird twist of fate. Only hours before rescuing Willow, Letourneau had told to his acquaintance that he was hoping to adopt a rescue. He recently moved into a new place where pets are permitted. Not only was the moment perfectly right, so too was the breed.
“I’m actually a big lover of huskies. I was originally hunting for a husky-like dog.”
Letourneau is presently in negotiations with the BC SPCA about adopting Willow, but first she must be nursed back to health. Looking back, the pair says they’re delighted they were at the right place at the right moment. Lefevre says they don’t frequent the region where they spotted Willow, it was their second time travelling to Maple Ridge.
“I’m delighted we gave her a second chance,” says Lefevre.
If the adoption goes through, Letourneau says Willow may expect a future full of camping excursions, hiking, traveling to the lake, just to mention a few.
Letourneau lives in Whistler, and as he puts it, “it’s paradise for dogs.”
People who support Willow are hoping she finally gets a bit of heaven. It looks this terrible tragedy will have a joyful ending.
Following considerable care in a foster home, Willow got to her forever home last March.
Her new owner Dawn says Willow is prospering. She is pleased, she has gained weight and all her fur has come back. They have her on a raw diet that appears to work extremely well for her delicate tummy.
Dawn says Willow is very loving and kind and has a gorgeous tail. She says that Willow is a bit of a couch potato, she likes her stuffed animals, being with her family and going on walks.