Purden Lake resident, 13-year-old Shawn Nydegger, with sign he made for an area creek
(The following story is written by a young friend, Shawn Nydegger, who lives with his family at Purden Lake. It is based on events that occurred last January, when the Nydeggers’ beloved dogs went missing for almost a week. With Shawn’s permission, I’m sharing it with Opinion250 readers on this final weekend of the holiday season in the hopes that you might enjoy it as much as I did. Happy New Year! Michelle Cyr-Whiting)
Purden Lake, B.C. – A year ago on a cold, overcast day in late January, my Dad, our neighbour John, our two Labradors Jewel and Gent, and I went on a skidoo trip.
On that particular day we left with the skidoos to build a bridge over the medium sized, fast flowing creek that comes out of a culvert under the highway. We left after lunch and used a trail we had packed across a bog to the Yellowhead Highway. We followed the Yellowhead southeast until we reached a small cluster of trees that surrounds the creek.
Dad untied the power saw from the back of his skidoo and went to cut some of the thick poplars around the creek for a base and cross pieces. John and I dragged the long sections across the creek and secured the ends to the bank on the opposite side while Dad cut the cross sections. Then we attached the cross pieces with nails. After we had finished we fired up the skidoos and crossed the bridge. Not long after crossing the bridge we noticed that the dogs had disappeared and we turned back to the creek.
"Jewel! Gent! Where are you guys," I called, getting worried.
Dad said, "Let’s keep on looking for a while, they can’t have gone too far."
We searched and called but the dogs must have been too far away to hear.
"We’d better get home, it is getting dark and you guys don’t have lights on your skidoos," said John, so we left deciding to look again the next morning.
John and Dad left early the next morning. When they came back for lunch, they told everyone that they had discovered the dogs had returned to the creek after we had left yesterday evening. But when the dogs noticed we weren’t there they sadly took off down older tracks that led to the Bowron River bridge. We searched for and tracked the dogs most of that day and the next and the next and so on, packing trails all over the place for the dogs to hopefully find and follow home.
After five days of Dad, John, and, sometimes Jesse and I searching, the dogs arrived back home panting from having followed one of the trails home. (photo at left shows Gent)
They were so skinny and exhausted that we believed that they wouldn’t have lasted much longer out in the bush.
I called the creek Dog-Gone Creek and made a sign saying its name. We will put it up this winter so if you happen to see it driving down HWY 16 East you will know the story behind it.