VICTORIA -- A dog that was missing in the Vancouver Island bush for more than two weeks is now safely back with his owner.

Keno is a four-year-old husky-shepherd cross that was reported missing on the morning of Jan. 26 on Mount Prevost in the Cowichan Valley.

"He saw an elk and he took off real quick and I lost him out of my hands," owner Jesse McMaster told CTV News one week into his search for his beloved pet.

"I stayed out there for another three to four days," said the distraught dog owner. "I slept in my car and took work off."

A search was launched and included monetary rewards and a planned helicopter flyover, which eventually had to be cancelled due to heavy snowfall.

The volunteer group Reuniting Owners with Animals Missing (ROAM) was engaged in the search and tracked Keno’s footprints throughout the area.

There were several sightings and more reports of dog tracks but the trail kept running cold.

On Wednesday night, ROAM reported another possible sighting of a dog dragging its leash on Mount Prevost.

Then on Thursday morning, someone working at a farm near Mount Sicker, west of Crofton, reported seeing a dog matching Keno’s description and dragging about a metre of torn leash.

“We actually got a picture on that call so I knew he was there,” said McMaster on Thursday. “I knew where he was and I got those people to take me there at midnight last night.”

McMaster stayed up on the mountain all night but there was no sign of Keno.

“I woke up at 7 in the morning to a bombardment of texts saying that they had got him,” said the elated dog owner.

The person that finally captured the elusive canine was a man named Justin. He had heard of the sighting and decided to go for a drive in the area before work. That’s when he spotted Keno.

“He stopped, he opened his door to get out and Keno jumped right in,” said Judy Bobke, who helps find missing dogs in the Shawnigan Lake area.

Once Keno was in the car, Justin called Bobke who arrived with her helper, Anna Androski. The pair then deliver Keno to McMaster.

“Oh, it was tears, it was wagging tails, kisses – it was absolutely amazing,” said Androski. “There wasn’t a dry eye within 10 feet, it was just amazing.”

So now that Keno and McMaster are together again, after 15 days on the road, the whole experience has taught the dog owner an important lesson.

“I have learned that humanity is absolutely amazing,” said McMaster. “People come out of the woodworks and are more than happy to help, give and do what they can.”

Bobke says the man who found Keno turned down the $1,000 reward for him, saying “he would like for me to pay it forward to Jesse.”

“As you know,” Bobke said in a Facebook post, “for the last two weeks Jesse was not able to work and this will help him out quite a bit.”