"Java" found safe and sound

Harry Sullivan
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Family pet turns up in culvert eight days after it went missing

"Java" found safe and sound

DEBERT - For eight days Carrie Barclay frantically searched for her beloved dog, Java, never knowing the pooch had never even left the driveway.
"She was literally right under my feet," Barclay said. "I can't believe the number of times we drove over her, how bad it probably would have scared her too."
That is because her eight-year-old American Staffordshire terrier was stuck in the culvert at the end of her driveway.
The dog disappeared on Nov. 14 while Barclay was distracted by friends who had stopped by her home. Because Java doesn't normally stray too far, she didn't give her absence a lot of initial thought. But as daylight turned to dark and the hours turned into days, Barclay had all but given up hope of seeing Java alive, thinking she may have been the victim of a deer hunter's wayward bullet or some other such misfortune.
With family and friends, they searched the nearby woods and roads to no avail. On the second day of her absence, they could hear whining nearby and believed the dog was in the bushes somewhere.
Barclay put out posters and late at night would sit on her doorstep whistling and waiting in vain for the light pitter patter of Java's feet that never came. Or she would go out with the flashlight "... in case she was hiding in the woods or something.
"I never heard a sound out of her," she said. "And, the whole time, she never even left the driveway."
Early last week, she decided to start a Facebook group in the hope of soliciting the help of a wider audience, only to discover others had already began posting information on the Internet. And while she received numerous tips from people believing they had spotted her dog somewhere, each fresh hope was soon dashed.
"I could never imagine now, after losing a pet, what people feel like losing a child. Just that sickening feeling of not knowing where she was at," Barclay said.
On Saturday, however, she was in the mall and waiting for the Santa Claus parade to begin when her brother-in-law called to say the dog had been found in the culvert.
Barclay's neighbour had heard an animal whining as he was getting out of his vehicle and after walking around the area, eventually zoned in on the culvert. When he looked in, "there she was," Barclay said.
The dog had wiggled itself through the tight space almost to the other end but after eight days without food or drink, it seemed unable to make it all the way through.
While the neighbour started to dig the rocks away from the end of the sluice, Barclay's sister called another neighbour who arrived with a backhoe to dig out the culvert.
Java came away with a gash on one leg but, otherwise, beyond being hungry, thirsty and tired, she was none the worse for wear.
"I can sleep again," Barclay said. Beyond her "relief," she is also overwhelmed at the support received during her ordeal.
"Community support is fantastic," she said. "I would never have imagined that that many people care."

Geographic location: DEBERT

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  • Ruby
    March 01, 2010 - 14:40

    I guess we should all look in holes and under buildings for our pets.
    They often run after mice or other small animals and get stuck.
    I had a cat gone for days and its flea collar got hooked on a tree .I went for a walk and found it laying the ground apart so they do get caught on stuff.Glad you got your dog back.poor thing/

  • S
    March 01, 2010 - 14:39

    As an animal love I am glad to hear that Java has come home and she is safe and sound. And Heather I totally agree with you some people just aren't happy unless they are being jerks..but I guess maybe that's the point..not happy!!!

  • Megan
    March 01, 2010 - 14:39

    I'm so happy that Java was found safe, she was on our mind ALL the time, it's just so hard to believe that the whole time we looked for her she was RIGHT there, poor girl! Can't wait to give her a big kiss on Saturday :)

  • john
    March 01, 2010 - 14:39

    AH Ha - It wasn't a hunter . Hunters don't shoot dogs - criminals shoot dogs as it is illegal to shoot a dog, even if found at large in a wildlife habitat. There are far more responsible hunters than less than responsible and there are fewer injuries or deaths from hunting than from angling, but the bad rap hunter get from non-hunters continues, year after year, sometime perpetuated by poor or biased reporting by newspapers looking for sensationalism to sell more copies.

    It is also illegal to allow a dog to be at large in a willife habitat. for info from DNR us this link:

    http://www.gov.ns.ca/natr/wildlife/pdf/PetOwners.pdf

  • Gilliad
    March 01, 2010 - 14:39

    Rob, I agree completely with your quick response to John's defence of hunters. As Shakespeare once put it, methinks he protesteth too much.

    There are good and careful hunters and fisherfolk (must be gender conscious, you know), and then there are the others.

    As for Java's return, I can empathize totally with her owner. When we moved a couple of years ago, our totally deaf older cat got out the door. I spent one of the worst days of my life trying to find him. Because of his condition, I knew he wouldn't hear cars or dogs or coyotes or whatever else that might have come after him.

    As the last load of furniture went into the moving van, I took one more (my wife called it futile ) drive around our neighbourhood. I found Sebastian one street away, feet away from walking into dense bush where I never could have followed, and managed to run and pick him up before he disappeared.

    There is a God, and he does love animals.

  • Norma
    March 01, 2010 - 14:39

    So very happy that you found your Java!

  • Aurora
    March 01, 2010 - 14:39

    John: The story didn't say they thought the dog was 'hunted' but rather the owner was worried about the possibility of the dog being hit by accident (wayward bullet ) -- being so near woods and it being hunting season and all. Sheesh. I keep my dog away from the woods this time of year too!

    I am so happy that Java was found alive and well. I'm sure the family and Java are extremely happy to have been reunited. Poor girl... that must have been horrible. Glad she made it through this tough ordeal!

  • Dave
    March 01, 2010 - 14:39

    You've got to be kidding me!! I can't believe a dog could live for eight days without food! I know I couldn't!
    I am glad all's well that ends well.

  • Rob
    March 01, 2010 - 14:39

    Yes John, I agree most hunters are probably responsible. Notice how it was said it was a 'wayward bullet'.. Therefore not intentional. A tad defensive aren't we? Perhaps after the news of two horses being shot by a couple less responsible hunters (at night!) still fresh in people's minds?

  • Heather
    March 01, 2010 - 14:39

    Such a happy ending to what could have been a devastating ending. I couldn't imagine what you went through! My dogs are like my children and if I lost them I know I wouldn't be able to function! I am so happy for you!

    PS - there is always one that has to find the negative in every situation but stay focused on the positive and enjoying your time with Java!

  • Graham
    March 01, 2010 - 14:39

    LOVE such good-news stories about animals and their people!

  • Countrygal
    March 01, 2010 - 14:39

    I am glad to hear Java is safe and sound and back to where she will be completely loved and spoiled. Was her first meal back home a nice rare steak?

  • Tegan
    March 01, 2010 - 14:39

    Great news Carrie, I'm so happy you found Java!

  • Cathy
    March 01, 2010 - 14:39

    Finally, a story with a happy ending! I am so happy for everyone involved.