This is the second part of the story of Jessy the dog, who got lost in the wilderness around Skagway this past summer.
The Skagway mayor, Andrew Cremata, who had seen Jessy from across the road, called out to several others on the dock to get a hold of her. Much to everyone’s relief, a security guard from one of the cruise ships actually caught her! Police Chief Ray Leggett happily escorted Jessy to the Paws and Claws Animal Shelter shortly thereafter. Jessy was now under the care of Katherine Selmer Moseley, who had been a key resource person to the Reekies, coordinating efforts and offering advice from the very beginning. Paws and Claws board members rotated shifts taking tender care of a delicate and thin Jessy.
A writer from The Skagway News (Lilly Milman), who knew the story well, was also at the docks that lucky morning. She was the first to contact Grant by phone, followed immediately by the Skagway police. The Reekies were shocked and, like all of Skagway, jubilant. Grant and Cindy once again made an about turn, this time heading North by air. Sporting matching t-shirts that read “Jessy thanks Skagway,” they were finally reunited with their girl on Sept. 4.
“We were overwhelmed and relieved” responded Cindy, when asked to summarize their feelings at that climactic moment.
Grant recalled a particularly memorable Skagway experience the next day.
“I got up early the next morning, maybe 6:30 or 7 a.m. No one was around, but a tour bus. The driver stops in the middle of the road and hung out the door and yelled out ‘hey Jessy!’ He wanted to have a selfie with her! And that’s happened ALL DAY! We walked Jessy all over town and I bet you she had 50 selfies with people. She was invited in to all the stores. They were giving her treats! It was over the top. We took a few people out for meals to thank them, but we just couldn’t thank them enough.”
When I spoke to Grant and Cindy recently, they didn’t dwell on the stress of searching for their dog for weeks, or cancelling their carefully planned holiday itinerary. They spoke of the unbelievable support they received from the community of Skagway. They spoke of lifetime friendships being born. Of Whitehorse and Skagway being sister cities where they received exceptional care from everyone they came in contact with. And, of course, they spoke of a now happy and safe Jessy.
Losing their dog in this little town turned into the most heartwarming and wonderful experience the Reekies could have had. It was also one heck of a retirement trip!
Jessy is doing wonderfully recuperating at her home base. She was around 65 to 67 pounds prior to her ‘sojourn’ into the wilderness, where she likely survived on grass and berries. She weighed in at only 42 pounds at Paws and Claws, but was up to 57 pounds at the time of writing, in mid-November.
“All she wants to do is eat. She’s just obsessed with eating. She never used to be like that, but we now feed her quite a lot more than we used to,” Grant said.
“Her personality is a bit needy now. We can’t go anywhere in the house without her following us around. You can tell she’s still a little nervous.”
I have no doubt that, with the Reekies incredibly patient and loving nature, Jessy will make a full recovery. It was this patience that originally brought her out of her shell when they adopted her as a timid and shy adult dog.
That’s right! Somewhat ironically, Jessy has been rescued twice! Once from being lost in the wilderness and once from abandonment by her previous owner.
At the time of adoption, Grant and Cindy had just lost their aging lap-dog-sized K9. They hesitated to take on a 65-pound, mixed breed older dog! Their adult daughter egged them on, stressing “You guys! It’s an old dog, you can afford this dog. You have time on your hands, you can give her a wonderful home!”
“We were just patient” said Cindy. Eventually Jessy came around and became totally bonded to the Reekies and likewise they grew to adore her.
“We discovered she loved hiking and the mountains. We took her everywhere. She became like our child.”
Having never known her true birthday, they will now celebrate it on Aug. 29, honoring the day she was found and rescued by the Skagway community.
The Reekies often wake up to Jessy staring at them, inches away, her chin resting on their bed – safely at home and ready for the next hike… on leash this time.
“Now I keep her on a lead all the time. I can NOT go through that again!” said Grant.
The Reekies have many future hiking trips planned and will for sure travel back North at some point to visit all their newfound Skagway friends, not to mention Jessy’s many fans and Facebook followers!
To see a heartwarming video of Grant and Cindy’s reunion with Jessy, as well as more pictures and updates from the couple, check out the Paws and Claws Animal Shelter Facebook page.