When Trevor Goward went for a recent afternoon stroll up the mountainside with his dog, Purple, he had no idea his life would soon be in her paws.
Goward was on his way back down the trails in the Clearwater area, north of Kamloops, as it was turning dusk, when he tripped on a log, put out his hands to break his fall, and dislocated his shoulder.
“My arm was sort of hanging down and I realized I was in too much pain to do much, so after thinking about the options available, I decided to send Purple down to get help. I said, ‘Can you go get Curtis?’” he said, referring to his partner, Curtis Bjork, who was back at the house working in the garden.
“She looked at me and she knew there was something wrong. As soon as I said it, she just ran down the trail.”
Purple made the 2.5-km journey back home, and it didn’t take Bjork long to realize something was off. Judging by her agitation and the absence of Goward, he grabbed extra clothing and survival supplies and headed out the door.
Along with a few neighbours, friends, and first responders, Bjork put his faith in Purple and told her to “Find Trevor.”
He followed Purple up the trail – the dog pausing at every fork in the path and barking to make sure she was being followed, until sure enough, they came upon Goward, who was shivering from the cold and becoming incoherent.
The Search and Rescue team arrived, and they walked Goward out of the bush.
“It was a really long walk. I could only go so far and I have no memory of how many times we stopped,” he said. “I was in shock and had hypothermia.”
Said fire bridge chief Steve Murray: “There was no rescue without the dog. We could mobilize and get ready to go, but we needed a direction and Purple had the direction down pat.”
Goward said while that he was waiting for help, he started to fear he would never be found, and even took a voice recorder out of his pocket and calmly dictated his goodbyes to the world. Hours after he made it home safely, the dog was still keeping a close eye on him.
“I’ve had lots of intelligent dogs, but Purple is in a class herself.”