Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

They searched for Miles and finally cornered him

Winnipeg Lost Dog Alert joins two-day dog-hunt

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MILES the golden Labrador led family members and the city's best dog-finding organization on a winding, two-day chase through the yards, back alleys and driveways of Weston before he was finally cornered under a deck and leashed.

All day Saturday and half of Sunday, cars trolled up and down streets with their four-way blinkers on. Watches were set up at street corners. Neighbours left food out on their porches. Teenage boys, who were offered $50 if they found the dog, tore around on bicycles.

Miles was a worthy opponent. "This dog was like the love child of Harry Houdini and the Flash. You'd be 10 steps behind him, you'd follow him around a corner, and he'd be gone," said Geordie Ross, the brother-in-law of Miles' owners, Brent and Kallee Bowman. The Bowmans are in the process of moving to Winnipeg from Whitehorse and shipped Miles ahead of them by air.

Miles slipped away from Ross near the Winnipeg airport as he was opening his kennel to grab the dog's collar Thursday night.

But while Miles is a good runner, he was being pursued by an expert team of trackers. Once they find out about a missing animal, the Winnipeg Lost Dog Alert can get a team on the ground within hours.

After Sharai Ross, Geordie Ross's wife, got a tip from a CBC radio listener (where his disappearance was reported) that Miles was seen near Arlington Street and Logan Avenue, a Dog Alert member put out word at 10 p.m. Friday that they would meet the next day at noon to search.

About 25 people showed up over the course of the weekend. Some of them, like Dave Cosford, weren't content to wait till noon. He started looking for Miles at 7 a.m.

"He was a champ," Sharai said, referring to him as "this Dave guy." Over and over, Cosford would spot Miles before anyone else. But then Miles would vanish. At one point, Cosford had him cornered in a backyard, before Miles jumped the fence.

Cosford enjoys the pursuit. "The thrill of the chase, it's unique," he said. "It's such a rush, even every time you just spot them," he said. Though not a hunter, Cosford likened the search for missing dogs to hunting.

Cosford's son got in on the action too, on his scooter. "This is just like manhunt (a game he and his friends play outside)," he told his dad. Cosford doesn't have a dog but he has a cat.

The Rosses, Cosford and the other volunteers searched into the evening Saturday and then started again early on Sunday.

Finally, the whole group of searchers was able to surround a property where Miles was hiding. The dog retreated under a deck, where Geordie Ross was able to coax him out, first just enough for him to lick his hand, then enough for Ross to get a leash on him.

Ross said when Miles was fleeing, he looked as though he thought his life was in danger. "He most certainly thought he was being hunted," Ross said.

But once he was in Ross's arms, being patted and loved, "he became my best friend immediately," Ross said, adding Miles jumped up and licked everyone who helped find him.

william.burr@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 12, 2011 B1

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