They say everything is bigger in Texas, but not the search that is going on for a Texas-born Campbell River dog.
Delilah, the one-and-a-half year old American Staffordshire Terrier owned by Campbell River Storm head coach Ryan Toporowski and Ashley Barney went missing Nov. 21, and news of her situation has gone viral on social networking sights resulting in hundreds of people out looking for her.
The local couple got Delilah from a Texas breeder about two months ago. She had been returned to the breeder by her previous owners and there were indications that she was neglected.
“When we met her at the airport we were so excited that we just opened her cage up really fast and this scared her so much that she bolted through the airport,” said Barney. “When we finally caught her and put her in the truck she turned into a different dog. She totally calmed down, was very happy, and played by jumping back and forth on the two beds in the hotel room. But she had no training at all, she didn’t know how to sit or follow any commands you would expect of a year-and-a-half-old dog.”
Delilah went missing during a walk with a dog walker around the Canyon View Trail area. She slipped out of her collar and because she didn’t know the walker very well, she took off.
“We think she is burrowing because of all the rain but there have been four confirmed sightings of her,” said Barney. “The problem is people call her name and she is so frightened of people she doesn’t know that she runs the other way.”
Meanwhile, the response from Campbell Riverites has amazed the couple.
“We are overwhelmed by the response,” said Barney, as she cuddled one of her two other dogs, a very affectionate and vocal Boston Terrier, which is also a rescue dog.
Barney says Delilah loves to cuddle, shake a paw, play with the two other small dogs, and always had a toy in her mouth.
“She really broke out of her shell. It’s hard not to fall in love with her,” she said.
Barney worries that Delilah has gone back into a “wild” state. Searchers are asked to not call her name, not make eye contact, or touch her unless there’s a 100 percent chance of grabbing her pink collar. The couple says just to watch her, follow her, throw some treats out if she is close and call them at 250-203-3181, they will come.
Toporowski and Barney have also done stake outs with other volunteers.
“We have left food and blankets, favourite toys, and a pillow with Ryan’s scent on it in areas she has been spotted,” said Barney.
Searchers who go with their dogs in tow may be a strong lure because Delilah loves other dogs. She also loves treats and at this point will probably be very interested in food.
“We think she has been eating mushrooms because we have found several piles of vomit, so she is not doing really well in that regard,” said Barney.
She has been spotted by Lee’s Chicken on Willis Road, up by the old gun range, and most recently on Argonaut Road.