CANMORE – A Canmore family has been searching for their missing dog after she disappeared on Dec. 30 from northeast Calgary.
Melissa Hubbard-Stevens and her husband Rob Stevens have been looking for Leeza – a one-and-a-half-year-old St. Bernard, great Pyrenees, Akita cross – since fireworks startled her and she ran away.
Hubbard-Stevens said it has been agonizing not knowing where Leeza is, or if she is OK, although there has been a dedicated and concerted effort to search for her in all possible directions she could have headed.
"I am certain she is out there somewhere and hopefully not tired and hungry, or in danger," Hubbard-Stevens said. "And that if someone has her, hopefully they are treating her with love and she is being cared for in the meantime, before she can make her way back to us."
Hubbard-Stevens said Leeza was last seen near the Beddington Golf Park in northern Calgary, but there have not been any confirmed sightings of her since.
"We have had sightings in all directions from Calgary including along the 1A and near Morley, but we have not had anyone be able to snap a photo of her," she said. "We are really not sure if any of these sightings have been Leeza or not."
The family was working with a dog trainer, which is where Leeza was when she ran away, to help with her on-leash reactivity. Hubbard-Stevens said the 52-kilogram dog is almost the size of a small pony and quite strong.
"She broke her leash and bolted in the night, we have not seen her since," she said. "She is such a good girl. She is well-behaved, but she is so powerful and big."
Hubbard-Stevens said she still has hope that Leeza is out there and will be found. They have been working with a tracking specialist and a psychic, as all options to locate their missing dog are on the table at this point.
"There are all these possibilities and it drives you crazy, because you just do not know and I just want to know that she is OK," she said.
They have thoroughly searched the area in Calgary where Leeza ran off from and followed up with searches in other areas where people thought they may have spotted her. Posters and flyers have been printed and distributed in the areas close to where she disappeared and the family has contacted municipalities, animal rescue groups, SPCAs and humane societies in Calgary and the surrounding region.
Leeza is also tattooed and micro-chipped, so if she is turns up as a lost dog in a community or with a rescue group, they will be able to return her to her family in Canmore.
A Facebook page, Leeza Come Home, was started and has been a hub for Hubbard-Stevens and her husband to communicate with those helping with the search.
"Facebook has proven to be an unbelievable avenue to try and get the message out and the kindness of strangers has been absolutely overwhelming," she said. "There are people out there on the ground looking every day and every time we get a lead."
There is a "no-questions-asked" reward for Leeza's return and Hubbard-Stevens said it is an unspecified amount in the hope that if someone has the dog, or took her to sell, they will be motivated to return her to her family.
"You never know, people might be driven to do things that they may never thought they would do, trying to put food on the table," she said. "We are going on the advice of people who have done this before and trying all avenues."
Hubbard-Stevens said if anybody thinks they have spotted Leeza, that they should try and get a picture of her on their phone, but to not approach her. Anyone with information on Leeza's whereabouts is asked to call 403-609-9778.
"If we could get a positive sighting and know where she she is out there, it would give us a clear spot to focus our search," she said.