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‘We were worried sick’: Richmond family reunites with lost husky

Community members helped bring Koby home after he went missing more than a month ago

“(It was) a month with a lot of trauma for our family, but we’re overjoyed.”

Rav and Rupinder Bains can finally breathe a sigh of relief as their 13-month-old husky, Koby, has finally returned home after going missing more than a month ago.

The pup had escaped with his cousin, Auggie, while the two were on a morning playdate on a Richmond farm on Friday, Jan. 13. A chase ensued and the two were briefly spotted near the Pacific Banner Riding Club on No. 3 Rd, but only Auggie was found when SPCA finally caught up to them.

“We called the SPCA, and we kept searching the area, and there was no sighting,” Rav recalled.

The family searched tirelessly — night and day — that weekend. Calls for help were posted on Facebook and posters were tacked up in surrounding neighbourhoods.  They even enlisted the help of Petsearchers Canada, who brought in drones and cameras.

But they couldn’t find Koby.

“We were worried sick about Koby, like, ‘How is he going to spend the night outside? Where is he going to be?’” said Rupinder.

“How is he going to survive outside?” Rav added.

Little did they know, they would not get a confirmed sighting until 35 days later, on Feb. 16.

“We had to stay strong and just march forward until we were able to get a firm sighting or get Koby back… You have your ups and downs,” said Rav.

That is not to say the Bains didn’t get any news for five weeks — potential sightings would come in regularly, but they would always end up being coyote doppelgangers roaming on Garden City Lands.

“And on top of that, somebody (had) been ripping off Koby’s posters and we kept replacing them,” said Rupinder.

But the Bains pressed on with the help of the community.

“A lot of people from the Richmond community, they helped us (put) the posters out. I couldn’t have done it myself, considering how fast this guy was ripping off the posters,” said Rupinder.

Richmondites also rallied and formed a 50-person-strong WhatsApp group to help with the search for Koby. Many searched for Koby in their own time while others shared the Bains’ posts on social media.

“Without their help, we wouldn’t have been able to come this far,” said Rupinder.

Reunited, 17 miles from home

And it was thanks to the community that Koby was returned to his family on Thursday.

“There was a lady that was driving her daughter to school (in North Vancouver), she saw a middle-aged woman walking Koby from a neighbourhood park back to her home,” said Rav. The community member immediately alerted Rupinder, and lo and behold – it was Koby.

The Bains, including their two kids, immediately rushed to the North Vancouver home. More waiting ensued but they finally managed to speak to the woman, with the help of RCMP, and convinced her to let them see Koby.

“She took us inside into her kitchen area. As soon as she opened the door, Koby rushed out… and he started licking us and cuddling us,” said Rav.

“It was just a moment of joy for all of us at that point in time.”

The woman had apparently spotted Koby roaming around Richmond looking “very skinny and filthy” and decided to take him home.

“She took good care of Koby,” said Rupinder.

As soon as Koby got home, it was like he’d never left.

“He’s feeling safe,” said Rupinder.

“And very relaxed. He’s in his own environment,” said Rav.

“And our kids slept with him (that) night. They just put a mattress out on the floor and they slept with Koby. So he was comforted by being reunited back with us.”

The moral of the story, said Rav, is to keep community spirits strong.

“Richmond is an island. We are still a small town in some respects, and we need to step up for each other,” he said.

“And don’t be afraid to ask for help. There may be a few people that are not so kind, but there are many, many good and kind-hearted people out there.”

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