Lost and Found: Patches’ rescuer speaks out

By David F. Rooney

When Mya Lebeu left Salmon Arm with some friends bound for Radium on Dec. 21 she had no idea she would save the life of a beautiful Great Pyrenees dog that has been lost in the Monashees for 11 days.

“At first I thought she was a wolf, then I realized she was a dog,” Lebeu said in a Christmas Day interview. “She looked so desperate. I made my friends stop so I could take another look and then I saw her leash.”

The dog was Patches, the beloved canine companion of Revelstoke’s Ross McPhee who had run away in fright when her master had an accident near Three Valley Gap on Dec. 10. McPhee, who is Revelstoke’s Chief Administrative Officer, had been taking Patches to a boarding kennel where she was to stay while he went to Egypt for a vacation. The accident forced the cancellation of the trip to Africa and caused McPhee a great deal of heartache when he couldn’t find Patches in the aftermath of the accident. He asked the RCMP and HMC, which is responsible for the upkeep of the Trans-Canada Highway, to keep an eye out for Patches. But as the days went by McPhee began to lose hope that Patches would be found.

Lebeu’s heart goes out to McPhee for the anguish he felt but she’s upset, too, by the number of people who must surely have seen Patches in the days after the accident but didn’t bother to stop or report what was obviously a lost dog.

“What gets me is there must have been 100 vehicles stopped ahead because of avalanche clearance and not one person stopped,” she said.

LeBeu did stop and coaxed the frightened animal to her.

“She begged me to stay with her,” Lebeu said. “She did this by laying down and and grasping me with her paws. I saw she was so skinny but she also appeared to be a well-looked-after and loved pet especially after noticing her tags. She was very clean. I had to pick her up and place her on the back seat of my car.”

Lebeu said she located an HMC employee who took Patches in care and not long afterwards contacted McPhee to tell him his pet had been found. She said McPhee tried to call her shortly after Patches was returned to him but her phone was turned off so she didn’t get his voice mail message until later.

“I’m glad I stopped and I’m really glad Patches and Ross were reunited but I’m still very upset by all the people who must have ignored that poor dog,” she said. “Too many people take pets and other animals for granted. But I’m glad this had a happy ending.”

So is Ross McPhee and so, too, is Patches.

You can read the first part of this story at https://legacy.revelstokecurrent.com//2009/12/23/lost-and-found-after-11-days-in-the-mountains-patches-returns-to-her-thankful-master/.