Dr. Michael Tigchelaar (left) with Penny and owner Ken McLennan at the BC SPCA veterinary clinic Monday. Mark Brett/Western News

Okanagan dog back in owner’s arms after 18 days on the run after car accident

Penny the senior boxer is back home and doing well after missing for 18 days following car accident

Looking a little unsure what all the fuss was about, Penny emerged from her vet appointment Monday just a little worse for wear after 18 days on her own, vanishing the night of Oct. 31 when she and owner Ken McLennan were hit by a car near their Redlands Road home.

Penny, a 10-to-12-year-old boxer, was found Sunday by branch manager Carolyn Hawkins, of the South Okanagan Similkameen SPCA, at an Uplands Court residence where she had been spotted the day before.

Dr. Michael Tigchelaar examined Penny Monday morning at the BC SPCA animal clinic, did some blood work and had the scrapes on her legs and docked tail treated. She was estimated to have lost about five kilograms during the nearly three weeks by herself.

“Penny’s doing well, worse case scenario is they’re starving and lost a lot more weight than she has, severe dehydration or exposure seeing as it’s been a lot more cold out. So, like I say, so far Penny looks good,” said Tigchelaar after the exam and prescribing a take-home kit for her care, including some pain killers.

Related: Penny has been found

Initially it was unclear if Penny had been hit by the vehicle, which sent McLennan flying nearly two metres and landing him in Penticton Regional Hospital (PRH) for treatment, but her injuries would indicate the dog had been struck as well.

McLennan was actually at PRH on Sunday to get a CT scan for his injuries in the accident when he got a text from Hawkins saying she had finally found Penny.

“I couldn’t do anything until I was out of the hospital and then I went to the shelter (SPCA) and as soon as I seen her it was blubbering, happy, just happy,” said McLennan, sitting in the vet’s waiting room. “I never lost faith, she’s pretty tough. She went through it before and she’s a good girl, a tough girl.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank everybody, I mean everybody that helped looking for her, putting up posters and just helping. I’m the happiest guy in the world.”

Word quickly spread on local and social media after word of Penny’s disappearance went out following the accident and a small army of volunteers began scouring the region, especially with concerns of coyotes and cougars being in the area.

The other worry was the senior dog also required twice-daily medication for an existing heart condition.

Related: Penticton SPCA employee gives animals a new leash on life

After the accident happened about 9:30 p.m. on Halloween, McLennan found himself lying on the ground with an empty leash in his hand, Penny having slipped out of her collar.

She was seen running into the yard of her home a short distance away but with the arrival of emergency crews she ran off, last spotted heading down Truro Street.

After receiving word of Penny’s sighting last weekend, Hawkins and a volunteer went to the house and set a trap on the large patio and set a “smelly” scent trail to entice whoever was out there to come inside.

“I was video taping how I was doing it (setting the trap) and all of a sudden I heard rustling in the bushes. I thought it was a big raccoon at first — and Penny came out and came right to me,” said Hawkins, who dropped the phone she using to video the scene on the ground in her surprise. “I was just flabbergasted. She just came up to me and I hugged her and I just held on to her.”

This was not Penny’s only foray on her own, the dog first came into the care of the SPCA several years ago when she was found emaciated and cut up, abandoned on a logging road near Kamloops.

She was adopted by McLennan, an SPCA special constable, shortly afterwards.

The abandonment was believed to have left her very timid and the posters advising of her disappearance asking anyone who saw Penny just to watch her and to call or text McLennan or Hawkins.

In addition to the many volunteers locally Hawkins also acknowledged the help from the Ontario-based pet search and recovery organization Aid 4 Paws which helped her with some of the strategy of their efforts.

RCMP say at this time charges are not being considered against the driver in the motor vehicle incident because of extenuating circumstances (including darkness).

– some video files courtesy Carolyn Hawkins

To report a typo, email: editor@pentictonwesternnews.com.


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Ken McLennan and talks with staff as Penny is treated for her injuries at the BC SPCA veterinary clinic Monday after being found the day before. Mark Brett/Western News

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