In pursuit of Poppie: Tiny terrier swims to island and back as she evades rescuers for 4 days

A tiny terrier is home safe in Saanich, B.C., after getting the better of rescuers in a four-day adventure that included a swim to an island and back. 

Poppie, a five-year-old Yorkshire terrier, was with her owners at a beach park in the southeast of the district last Monday when she was spooked by a larger dog and ran off.

When they couldn’t find the terrier, the family turned to the local pet-finding organization Reuniting Owners with Animals Missing (ROAM B.C.) 

“We started organizing a search and going around that area,” said Terry Mah, who’s with ROAM B.C. 

Bacon bait

On Tuesday afternoon, someone reported they’d spotted a small animal running around on Flower Island, a small island just off the coast, through their binoculars. 

“Poppie had somehow made it over to the island,” Mah told CBC’s All Points West.

“It’s quite a ways away, about 50 to 75 feet (15 to 23 metres), and there’s quite a current that runs through there.”

Poppie’s owners and volunteers headed over to the island but weren’t able to catch the quick little dog. Bad weather forced them to return. 

On Wednesday, searchers set up remote cameras to see if they could track Poppie’s movements and find out whether she was still out there. 

Mah was looking at the footage when he noticed a little silhouette. 

“Lo and behold, it was Poppie’s face looking out from the bushes, probably 10 feet [three metres] away from the camera,” he said. 

Back on the island, her owners unsuccessfully tried coaxing her out by singing and talking to her until nightfall. 

“We went back Thursday morning, this time with a camp stove and bacon to try to coax Poppie out with the smell of  frying bacon and sausages,” Mah said. 

While they tried to waft the tempting smell into the bushes, Mah got a call saying someone had spotted a dog of Poppie’s description running down a road back on Vancouver Island.

“Somehow, she managed to elude our camera and hop back over to the other side,” said Mah. 

‘It takes a village’

Everyone hurried back across the water to scour the streets, and eventually Mah and Poppie’s owner spotted her sitting in a doorway. 

Tired and hungry, the little dog gave in to capture and was reunited with her owners.   

“You know the old saying ‘it takes a village’? In this particular case, it [did],” Mah said.