Missing dog spotted on surveillance video after living in wild for 8 months

A Bay Roberts couple has renewed hopes of bringing their lost dog home, eight months after she went missing. 

Zoe, a yellow Labrador mix, went missing in April after she escaped from a backyard near Brigus. 

Her owners, Peter Vaters and Rebecca Curlew, searched for Zoe every day for six weeks, until they got a call saying a dog like Zoe had been found dead along the side of the highway. 

“It was heartbreaking … but we thought she was gone and we gave up,” said Curlew.

The littlest hobo of Brigus

Late last month, a Brigus man set up a camera in the woods near his property after his moose pelts were dragged away and eaten. 

Thinking he’d see a coyote on the camera, the man was surprised to instead find a hungry dog.

Zoe’s owners thought she was dead, but recently learned she’s been roaming the wilderness near Brigus for the past eight months. Now, they’re working tirelessly to bring her home. (Submitted)

He posted a photo online, which made its way to Zoe’s owners. 

She was skinny, but easy to identify by her homemade bandana, and it didn’t take long for a Facebook group dedicated to finding Zoe to be flooded with more than 4,000 members from all over the world, anxious to see the skinny dog home with her family.  

“It’s overwhelming, the amount of support from volunteers, from people in the area, from people we have never met, people online,” said Vaters. “It’s just absolutely amazing, and all that support will help get Zoe home.”

It’s not as much as a search right now as it is a waiting game.– Peter Vaters

The search team has managed to get a good sense of where Zoe’s been spending her time off the grid. 

She’s been spotted on the same surveillance cameras around the same time every night.

“She definitely has a good sense of locating food,” said Curlew. “We’ve heard from some people that she’s dug up some broccoli.… We’ve heard that she’s been getting into some compost and some trash cans. I know she looks skinny, but we’d like to remind people not to put food out for her. We’re trying to lure her into the traps and this food is kind of putting us a step backwards.”

Peter Vaters and Rebecca Curlew are determined to get Zoe home before Christmas. They say Zoe’s timid nature is one of the qualities that drew them to her, but it’s also one of the things that’s making her rescue difficult. (Submitted)

Zoe’s animal instincts and timid nature may have helped to keep her alive in the wild for the past eight months, but Vaters said that fearfulness is also making her rescue a challenge. 

“It’s not as much as a search right now as it is a waiting game,” he said. “We can’t approach her, we can’t call out to her.… She’ll run.”

So her owners keep a close eye out and wait, with renewed hope all these months later, of being reunited with Zoe.

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