Skip to content

Dustan the German shepherd captured in Chilliwack after weeks on the run

Chilliwack’s littlest hobo found by pet searchers with a feed bucket on her head in a cornfield
A lot of effort went into capturing Dustan who was found in Greendale on Oct. 2, 2022. (Natasha MacDonald)

Dustan the dog is safe at last.

Chilliwack’s littlest hobo, a female German shepherd on the run, was finally captured Tuesday by professional pet searchers in a Greendale cornfield.

Dustan’s triumphant capture was “cause for relief, elation, joy, all the emotions,” according to Natasha MacDonald, one of six Chilliwack women who came together to raise money, and help the dog.

They set up a GoFundMe this week for Dustan’s “after care,” and it raised $2,755 in two days.

“As a result of much hard work and dedication by many great people and volunteers, she was captured in a corn field,” MacDonald explained.

The thin and exhausted shepherd was spotted running around with a plastic bucket on her head, of all things.

When Petsearchers Canada caught Dustan she had a plastic bucket on her head. (Petsearchers Canada)

“A humongous thank-you to Al from Pet Searchers Canada who caught this brave dog, and thank-you to Cam who got Al up close on his quad to make it all happen.”

Al MacLellan of Petsearchers Canada said he was contacted by the group concerned about Dustan but was swamped with other search efforts at the time.

“In the last week or so we have heard from several searchers that they were losing hope of capturing Dustan and were afraid that she might not survive.”

There had been numerous sightings on both sides of the highway – in Rosedale, downtown, Skwah First Nation, and finally Greendale.

The pet searchers talked it over and decided to donate their services to the cause.

“The search was on! I assured Natasha that together we would capture Dustan and get her safe,” McLellan wrote.

They searched Monday and thought they had a glimpse of the dog. Then there was another sighting Tuesday morning of the dog from Greendale farmer Cam Regier, and this time it was with a feed bucket on her head.

“We rushed out to Chilliwack and group members and I searched the fields for Dustan.”

They knew from recent sightings she was in a nearby corn field, but they didn’t have eyes on her until Regier called to say he’d seen her on the outskirts of his cornfield in some bushes.

The searchers set off on an ATV, armed with a large net and a “catch” pole.

“Eventually Cam saw Dustan and the chase was on. Speeding through the cornfield we soon were up close to Dustan, I tried to get the net over her head and body, but it didn’t work. The net snapped in half.”

They needed a new battle plan.

“So I asked Cam to let me off his ATV with my catch pole and instead he would catch up to Dustan again and push her towards me.”

That worked like a charm.

“Both of them were heading straight at me,” the pet searcher wrote. He nudged her into the high grass off her paws, and then the catch pole secured.

“She was caught!”

Not sure at first if her captors were friend or foe, she eventually relaxed.

“We all agreed that she would some day be a loving family member,” he wrote. “We walked her to a truck and put her in a kennel, she was heading straight to a vet to have the bucket removed, and get checked out. She did great and will be cared for until she can be adopted to a loving family.”

MacDonald also thanked Darlene from K9 Recovery Services for all her time, guidance, advice and effort, and to Skwah First Nation for their co-operation and kindness, as well as all the farmers in Greendale who helped us.

“From the bottom of our hearts to the many people who assisted by keeping eyes on this dog, donating funds and resources, offering us access to their land, and more.

“We can all breathe deeply now,” she wrote.

The dog was taken to Family Pet Hospital in Chilliwack, and was in fair condition despite what she went through.

“She has some foreign matter in her guts which will hopefully work it’s way out.”

They took x-rays and blood, and confirmed she is in stable condition and on the mend.

“She will be needing vaccines, parasite control, spaying and medications to help her feel comfortable in her wasted state,” the request for help stated. “Can we ask for your help once again? We used the remainder of the money from the original Go Fund Me to take the edge off the vet bill today. We would like to hand her over to her new people as such that they will not have that financial burden.”

She thanked anyone who helped out.

“If we exceed the goal or are not in need of all of the funds, we will choose a reputable rescue to which we can pass on these extra funds.”

There is a Facebook page, Dustan, our littlest hobo, where many of those who helped are thanked profusely, and the GoFundMe page.

RELATED: Another dog reunited with owners

Do you have something to add to this story, or a news tip? Email:

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

A lot of effort went into capturing Dustan who was found in Greendale on Oct. 2, 2022. (Natasha MacDonald)

Jennifer Feinberg

About the Author: Jennifer Feinberg

I have been a Chilliwack Progress reporter for 20+ years, covering city hall, Indigenous, business, and climate change stories.
Read more