Most wouldn’t call a two-pound chihuahua “tough,” but that’s exactly how park officials are describing one after she spent four days alone in Banff National Park.
Bitzy the chihuahua went missing after she jumped out of her owner’s motorhome when it was parked at a rest stop along the Trans-Canada Highway. They were near the B.C. border, about four kilometres west of Lake Louise, when Bitzy decided to do a little sightseeing of her own.
After hours of searching with no success, Bitzy’s owners reported her disappearance to park staff, who then patrolled the area. They found nothing until last Wednesday when a staff member was driving through the park and noticed the tiny, golden-haired dog on the side of the highway.
“She was running along the shoulder of the highway, which brought traffic to a stop,” James McCormick, a resource management officer with Parks Canada, told the Calgary Herald.
Bitzy then ran to a stopped transport truck and hid in one of its wheels.
“Despite being reported as a friendly dog, Bitzy had honed her survival instincts and did not want to get caught,” McCormick said. “She was snarling and biting.”
Her fierce attitude is likely why she survived four chilly nights in the forest, alongside bears, cougars, raptors, a busy highway, and a rail line. That and a bit of luck of course.
According to reports, the little dog didn’t have a scratch on her.
“She… was full of vim and vigour,” McCormick told the Herald.
With the help of a few bystanders who were forced to stop their cars, McCormick managed to catch the lively little dog, wrap her up in a jacket, and take her to his office in Lake Louise, where officials called Bitzy’s owners.
When they arrived, McCormick said it was a very happy reunion, with lots of tail-wagging on Bitzy’s end.
He and other park officials do, however, want to remind people that this good-news story could have ended very differently, which is why it’s always important to keep your pet on a leash in national parks.
“If they do run away, it’s a challenge to find them again and find them healthy.”