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Nanaimo lost dog captured after 73 days on the loose

Rigby, a four-year-old border collie, has been captured after 73 days on the loose on Vancouver Island. (Find Lost and Escaped Dogs Vancouver Island) Rigby, a four-year-old border collie, has been captured after 73 days on the loose on Vancouver Island. (Find Lost and Escaped Dogs Vancouver Island)
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A four-year-old border collie has been captured after 73 days on the loose on Vancouver Island, much to the relief of a volunteer organization that was tracking the animal’s movements.

Jill Oakley, owner of Find Lost and Escaped Dogs Vancouver Island (FLED), says Rigby took off from his Nanaimo foster home on Jan. 25 and experienced a harrowing journey before he was caught by volunteers on April 9.

“He went from Nanaimo to Cedar to Cassidy back to Nanaimo, up to Parksville and back to Nanaimo,” Oakley says.

Oakley believes Rigby followed the railroad tracks a lot of the time. She isn’t sure how he managed to avoid being hit by vehicles during his many days on the run.

She says the first four years of Rigby’s life were not good.

“He was in a hoarding situation in Denver, Colorado, and came out with 60 dogs," she says. "He was seized by authorities down there, that’s the story we got."

He was brought to Nanaimo and was adopted to a home and lasted eight days before taking off on Jan. 25.

“We were called on the 26th and we had been tracking him all this time," she says. "Several times we thought we had him when he came into Cassidy and when he went into a farmer’s field."

The FLED group sets up feeding stations and traps with cameras to try to capture the animals.

“We thought we had him for sure in February, for sure, but he outwitted us,” she says.

Rigby was also captured on a doorbell camera at the beginning of April in the driveway of a home.

“That is what’s so tough," she says. "You see him and then you get everybody ready to go and you get your equipment up there and ready to go and he’s gone. It was really a tough case."

Now that he is safely back in human hands, Oakley says her group will try to calm Rigby down. He will also have vet and grooming appointments later this week.

“He’s been a little freaky boy ever since he got here," she says. "If I gave him the chance he would be gone again. He’s in that kind of mode right now. He’s a complicated little soul."

Oakley is calling Rigby the group’s latest success story, proving that owners should never give up on their missing animals, she says.

“He’s like the Littlest Hobo," she says. "We had five just amazing volunteers helping us out up in Nanaimo and if it wasn’t for them I don’t know that we would have been able to track him as good as we did."

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