When Matty Johnson and Zach Regan were out surfing and fishing at the Juan de Fuca trail on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, they came across an animal on the beach. On August 8, 2020, the couple was on their boat near the shore at Magdalena Point. When Regan was staring at the caves along the shoreline, he noticed movement.
“Just peering into the caves as we passed by, I saw tan legs coming out, just a glimpse, and I thought, ‘Oh that looks like an animal,'” Regan told CTV News. They quickly realized it was a dog. The unlucky puppy was trapped in a cave on a difficult stretch of the renowned hiking trail. “It was obvious that she couldn’t leave; she was locked in this cave and little beach area,” Regan explained.
Johnson put on his wetsuit and paddled over to the cave from their boat because they couldn’t see any other persons in the area. He enticed the distressed dog to approach him. It was a different story getting the dog onto the surfboard, but Johnson managed to one-arm paddle with the dog as Regan brought the boat closer and got the dog onboard before “she sunk to the bottom because she was so frail.”
Before heading to shore, they put her in a life jacket and wrapped her in a surf bag to keep her warm. The buddies made sure the dog was cleaned and fed once they arrived onshore. Leslie Steeves, the originator of Reuniting Owners with Animals Missing (ROAM), was approached for assistance in discovering the dog’s family.
Steeves was astonished at how the dog lived in such a harsh environment as soon as she learned where and how the puppy was rescued. Johnson and Regan, she knew, had spared the dog from probable death. But she was even more taken aback when she learned how long the dog had lasted.
Steeves began looking for the dog’s owners right away, and within a day of the story showing on CTV News, he received a call. It was the owners of the dog. The dog’s name is Stella, and she disappeared three months ago when a couple was on their honeymoon. Stella vanished when they were hiking with their dogs, according to Steeves. They looked for Stella for a week but couldn’t find her. They were ecstatic to discover Stella was still alive.
Stella’s rescuers were both surprised and happy to discover her family. “It completely blew my head.” Regan told CTV News, “I couldn’t comprehend it.” “Steeves was also taken aback. “How is this possible?” I wondered as she spoke.
Stella “perked up 10 times more than she did this morning” when she saw her family, according to Regan, who arranged for her return.