The MacDonald family spent three months this winter in constant search of their lost dog Buster, who was finally found, captured, and taken home on March 24. (Submitted photo)

VIDEO: Dog missing in Lower Mainland since winter sees his family again for the first time

Aldergrove helped find Buster, says dad, who has now witnessed ‘the power of social media’

A heart-wrenching three months have finally come to an end for a family whose favourite companion went missing in Aldergrove just four days before Christmas.

On March 24, Jason MacDonald got a phone call at 4 a.m. from a Good Samaritan who said he had a Catahoula leopard dog secured safely in his backyard.

MacDonald didn’t think it could possibly be his 9-year-old pal Buster, who had busted through the fence of his sister’s Aldergrove home while she was sitting him while the family took a trip to see relatives.

Little did they know that it would be so long before they would get to celebrate Christmas with their pup.

“We received word that we could come pick him up,” MacDonald said.

“We were ecstatic but still wondering… is this real? It is really happening?’”

Community helps find Buster

MacDonald, his wife Christie, and their 10-year-old son Wyatt, residents of Mission, had spent every day from Dec. 21 until late February searching for Buster.

“He’s never been away from home before,” the father said, noting that they had pinned up missing signs for the dog in areas of Aldergrove, Brookswood, and Fort Langley.

MacDonald even created a Facebook page, Help Find Buster, to collect reported sightings of the dog, sent in by Aldergrove residents.

“The power of social media,” he expressed.

“If it wasn’t for others not giving up on Buster we wouldn’t have remained so hopeful.”

MacDonald said that at time when his family canvassed Aldergrove areas during winter, local residents would often know why.

“Are you looking for Buster?” Strangers would ask the family.

Others in the community took it upon themselves to conduct a search of their own in their neighbourhood after work, or venture down new walking trails at the park in hopes of seeing Buster.

Sightings of Buster were tracked in numerous locations – from Aldergrove Regional Park trails to Bradner Road in Abbotsford where the pup was eventually found.

READ MORE: Support pours in for a dog abandoned outside in dire conditions

Family ‘never gave up hope’

Temperatures dipped below -20 this past winter, with a month of freezing temperatures in January, compounded by snow or rain in Aldergrove.

Langley Animal Protection Society even told MacDonald that someone witnessed Buster being hit by a car.

“We didn’t know if he was alive after all of it, but we never gave up hope,” he emphasized.

The family even hired a pet detective who laid food traps and used scent-tracking bloodhounds to try and locate Buster – to no avail.

As it turns out, a Good Samaritan had noticed how skinny and weak a big dog sneaking around his property was in February and began to feed the poor guy every night.

It was around the same time MacDonald started hearing of less and less sightings of Buster.

The bond the Good Samaritan built with the terrified canine allowed him to lure the pup – who was Buster – inside a gated area with the sight of his next meal.

Then the Good Samaritan made a call to the family.

[Story continues below video]

Son Wyatt recorded his family’s reunion with Buster, an online video that’s been viewed nearly 10,000 times.

“You get to come home,” his mom Christie cried to the tail-wagging pup, who jumped up in between bouts of wails.

“Thank you so much,” she repeated to the Good Samaritan who cared for her dog.

The car ride home was full of tears, MacDonald said.

“It was the best day of my life since my son was born.”

As soon as Buster entered the family home he walked right up the stairs and snuggled into his bed.

Christmas with all family members present came late for the MacDonald family. But the next day the clan was finally able to give Buster his holiday gift – a giant bone.

Dogs

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Just Posted

Delta council approves plan to reopen city facilities

Next phase of plan includes outdoor pools, summer day camps, outdoor fitness programs

‘Racism, it destroys your soul’: Surrey man looks to youth for change

Roy Campbell explains his ‘unique perspective and experience’ as a biracial man who has faced racism

UPDATE: Missing 37-year-old woman has been found

Cheryl Brovold was last seen June 2 in the 15800-block of 96th Avenue

COVID-19: Daily update on the pandemic in Surrey, White Rock and beyond

JUNE 6: ‘Pods’ set up at Surrey homeless centre; B.C. starts to see employment return

PHOTOS: White Rock Farmers’ Market ‘welcomes all vendors’

Relaxing pandemic restrictions mean full spectrum of vendors can return to uptown market: manager

Trudeau offers $14B to provinces for anti-COVID-19 efforts through rest of year

Making a difference in municipalities is a pricey proposition

‘Like finding a needle in a haystack’: Ancient arrowhead discovered near Williams Lake

The artifact is believed to be from the Nesikip period between 7,500 BP to 6,000 BP

Indigenous families say their loved ones’ deaths in custody are part of pattern

Nora Martin joins other Indigenous families in calling for a significant shift in policing

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

Importance of accurate, ethical reporting more critical than ever

Friends, family mourn Salt Spring Island woman killed in suspected murder-suicide

A GoFundMe campaign has been launched for Jennifer Quesnel’s three sons

Run for Water: Abbotsford man raises $100,000 running 100-mile marathon

Kevin Barata ran up and down Ledgeview Trails 32 times, exceeding elevation of Mt. Everest

PHOTOS: Anti-racism protesters gather in communities across B.C.

More protests are expected through the weekend

Indigenous chief alleges RCMP beat him during arrest that began over expired licence plate

Athabasca Chipewyan Chief Allan Adam calling for independent investigation

Most Read