October 22, 2017
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Search and rescue group using drone to find missing Maine dog

By Dawn Gagnon, BDN Staff

DETROIT, Maine — An aerial search is underway for a little white dog who hasn’t been seen in over a week, after making a break for it from her grooming appointment into a nearby swampy wooded area.

Bonnie, a 9-year-old West Highland white terrier, got away from her owner, Pearl Jones of St. Albans, who is in her 90s, according to Cassandra Melanson of Palmyra, a friend of Jones.

“She accidentally let the dog out of the car,” Melanson said Friday afternoon. Jones had brought Bonnie to an appointment at Dog’s Paradise at 61 River Road in Detroit on Thursday of last week when the dog ran away. It’s unclear if Bonnie was wearing a leash or collar at the time of her escape.

Melanson and others who know Jones are worried that Bonnie is either injured, stuck or otherwise unable to make it out of the woods on her own.

Melanson and other searchers know Bonnie is out there. They can hear her barks from off in the distance but efforts to find her have been hindered, in part, by the boggy terrain and large wild animals.

She said the groomer’s husband, whose name was not immediately available Friday evening, went out in his waders Thursday night but turned around after running into a bear. Another searcher encountered a moose, she said. As searchers gathered Friday along River Road in Detroit, eagles circled overhead.

Enter Down East Emergency Medicine Institute.

DEEMI Operations Director Richard Bowie said Friday that Melanson and others trying to rescue Bonnie asked the local volunteer fire department for help. While unable to organize an effort themselves, firefighters did refer them to the Orono-based search and rescue group.

Bowie said that DEEMI sent its drone — equipped with high resolution imaging and infrared camera equipment — and a rescue team to Detroit Friday afternoon. The team includes a University of Maine student researching FLIR technology.

He said experts in Maine, Virginia and Ohio were analyzing images taken from above and hoped to locate Bonnie shortly. Once she is found, he said, the drone will be used to lead human help to her exact location, he said.

If Bonnie is not located by Friday night, the search will continue on Saturday, he said.

Melanson that Bonnie was the mother of her own Westie, who died last June and that she and her mother, Darlene Badger, used to own Bonnie.

Watch bangordailynews.com for updates.

 


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