Would you like to subscribe to our newsletters?

Penticton resident gets sweet, surprise reunion with dog lost for months

Penticton resident Meredith Essler is shown reuniting with a dog that was missing for 3.5 months.
Penticton resident Meredith Essler is shown reuniting with a dog that was missing for 3.5 months.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/ Meredith Essler

Meredith Essler of Penticton had an unexpected surprise when the puppy she lost 3.5 months ago returned home, now adult sized, just in time for its first birthday.

“I’ve just been happy I recovered him, it’s like a fairytale,” she said.

The dog called Guinea roamed off Essler’s large, rural property in the Green Mountain Road area of Penticton in the middle of July, following after her older dogs which often wandered the semi-remote area but always returned. The following day the older dogs returned, without Guinea in tow.

“I was freaking out,” Essler said. “I was devastated, I was crying and figured the worst happened."

Essler spent weeks looking for the dog, hiking the rough terrain in surrounding rural areas and even employed someone with a drone to search. She made posters and put them everywhere she could think of between Keremeos and Oliver, posted in social media groups and left her information with area dog catchers.

But weeks went by, and despite several leads on other white dogs found in the area, none of them were Essler’s.

“I was grieving hard and emotional, but I kept going. I was really sad and cried every day for months. I kept up hope and thought if nothing else, I hope he found a home.”

On Nov. 5, Essler got the news from a helpful stranger a dog similar to her missing Guinea was spotted in the Sheep Creek Road area. With the help of locals, Essler discovered her dog had been spotted roaming around a residence and was alerted to the address.

“This person had put a tag on my dog and wanted to keep it,” Essler said. “I found out Guinea had initially spent time with someone else who was living off the grid before wandering down to this other person’s property.” 

Earlier this week, Essler was finally able to reunite with her dog when one of the helpful locals picked up the dog and met Essler at the Super Save gas station in Penticton.

“There he (the dog) was and oh, me and my daughter just started crying,” she said. “He’s in beautiful shape and has grown by about 100 pounds. He’s a little wild from his time spent up in the hills."

When Guinea went missing, he was 9 months old without a collar, or chip or tattoo. Essler said she’s learned her lesson and immediately air tagged the dog.

“I had a lesson to learn, I’d just thought oh, he’s just a young dog, he won’t go anywhere,” she said. “I hope this is a reminder to someone else who hasn’t tagged their pet yet.”

READ MORE: Resident pokes fun at Kamloops transit on social media

Guinea the dog and Essler’s other dogs are “settling in” well together.

“I’m so grateful to everyone and the people who understand how traumatic it is to lose your dog,” Essler said. “Thank you to the community, hugs from my work crew and people who were routing for me and trying to help. I adore this dog.”

Guinea the dog (left) is safe at its Penticton home after disappearing for 3.5 months.
Guinea the dog (left) is safe at its Penticton home after disappearing for 3.5 months.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/ Meredith Essler

To contact a reporter for this story, email Shannon Ainslie or call 250-819-6089 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

We welcome your comments and opinions on our stories but play nice. We won't censor or delete comments unless they contain off-topic statements or links, unnecessary vulgarity, false facts, spam or obviously fake profiles. If you have any concerns about what you see in comments, email the editor in the link above. SUBSCRIBE to our awesome newsletter here.