Snickers the Shih Tzu returns home after braving eastern Ontario extreme cold for 3 weeks

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An eastern Ontario man is overjoyed his beloved dog, Snickers, is safe and sound after being missing for three weeks, battling the elements, predators, and even illness.

The 8-year-old Shih Tzu is a friendly staple of his owner’s flower shop in downtown Picton, Ont. called Flowers by Marvin, spending his days with his owner Marvin Chapman.

Chapman left on vacation on Boxing Day, and had Snickers staying at a dog sitter’s, when he got the call that his dog had run off.

Chapman said he was devastated.

“I was completely helpless. I couldn’t do anything. I couldn’t go look. I was just stuck. It was horrible,” he said over video chat in an interview with CTV News Ottawa from overseas.

Posters went up, friends and strangers searched; there was no sign of Snickers.

Michelle Lott, the flower shop’s store manager, said she helped coordinate the efforts.

“So many people were out searching for him,” she said.

But Lott said that wasn’t all. Snickers had health issues and wasn’t getting his medicine.

“He actually has kidney disease and Lyme disease so we were really worried by that point because he hadn’t had his medication since Boxing Day,” she said.

As days and nights dragged on, and extreme cold warnings were issued, Lott said they were giving up hope.

“A week ago Monday, it was minus 23 and it was looking pretty grim,” she said. “(I) called his veterinarian and he said the only thing at that point that would bring him back was a miracle. So we called off the active search at that point.”

Then, on Saturday, that miracle came true.

Lott received a call from a young couple, saying that Snickers had been found running along a road more than five kilometres away from where he took off. 

“Just the fact that he didn’t get hit by a car is miraculous as well,” said Lott. “The area that he was found, there is a sand pit that is full of coyotes at night. So he had a lot of obstacles that he’s overcome.”

Lott believes the dog was outside the whole time.

Snickers was unharmed and has recovered from his ordeal. Chapman said when he heard the news, he couldn’t believe it.

“Michelle sent me the picture and I said, ‘you’re kidding me’, and then I was just completely emotional. That’s my kid. He is my world.”

Snickers will be reunited with Chapman on Monday when he returns from vacation.

“I can’t wait,” said Chapman.

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