FORT KENT, Maine — A German shepherd from New Brunswick who escaped from her family home and crossed the International Bridge in Fort Kent was located in good health in the United States after her owner sent out pleas for help on social media.
Retrieving the dog from the United States would have been a simple matter under normal circumstances, but the coronavirus pandemic that has essentially closed the border between the two countries added a new complication. No one from Canada could go get her, and the people who found her could not take her back across to her home — even though her owners were friends of theirs.
The border-hopping dog, 17-month-old Diamond, escaped through a garage door from her Clair, New Brunswick, home Saturday morning while her family was nearly four hours away at a hockey tournament in St. Andrews.
Paryse Michaud and her husband, Sylvain Michaud, had taken the couple’s 9-year-old daughter Marilou Michaud to the tournament where she participated on the Jets hockey team.
Meanwhile, Paryse Michaud’s father, Robert Sirois, was caring for Diamond. At one point, Sirois opened the garage door of the Michaud home and Diamond made a run for the border. Sirois tried to capture the agile young dog, without success.
Still in St. Andrews, and desperate to locate Diamond, Paryse Michaud made a plea for help via Facebook, and the international search for the family pet was underway.
“Oh my God, I cried and I cried — I was in a panic,” Paryse Michaud said. “I was walking like crazy in the hotel room having my phone in my hand and praying that someone can find my dog.”
Paryse Michaud shared on her Facebook page that Diamond had been last seen at U.S. Customs headed toward the Lonesome Pine Trails ski hill in Fort Kent.
Several people spotted Diamond in northern Maine and tried to lure her to them. They kept Paryse Michaud aware of Diamond’s movements throughout the six hours she was on her American tour.
Mitchell Desjardins of St. John, Maine, a family friend of the Michauds, finally located the dog, who had entered the garage of an area home.
It took a coordinated effort by people from both sides of the border to see the wayward pup returned home in Canada.
“Not anybody can go to Fort Kent because of COVID,” Paryse Michaud said, referring to the restrictions on who can cross the U.S.-Canada border that is closed to normal activity due to the pandemic.
But Desjardins brought Diamond to the border where Michaud family friends in Canada Luc Veilleux and Annik Sirois retrieved the dog from the border station in Clair and kept her at their home until the Michaud family returned from the hockey tournament.
Diamond has been a patient at Fort Kent Animal Hospital since birth but has not been able to visit the facility since COVID-19 border crossing restrictions were enacted a few months ago. But she wears a medallion around her neck indicating she is up to date on her vaccines, making her return home easier at the Canadian border station.
Paryse Michaud said Diamond is a beloved member of the family and is especially close to her daughter.
“She is a very good dog. She likes to play with everybody and is also protective,” Paryse Michaud said. “I’m pretty sure the reason why she ran away was to find my daughter.”
The family was reunited with Diamond on Sunday morning.