Laura Millar pats her yawning dog Ainslie on Aug. 9, moments after local residents returned him to her. Soon after, Ainslie went to nap. (X. Y. Zeng photo)

Friend of a friend of a friend of a friend reunites dog with owner

Proof that we’re all one big community!

A slew of misfortunes hit Laura Millar in the past few weeks, who lost her trailer where she lived and cat to a fire on June 24. It seemed like it couldn’t get worse until her dog, Ainslie, walked away from her on Aug. 7 while she was making a sandwich in Yale at around 10 a.m.

“As I was making a sandwich, [Ainslie] caught the eye of a pitbull and he was playing with the pitbull before the owner put her dog into her van and drove away while my dog was running behind the van,” said Millar.

“Having lost what I’ve already lost — like losing my home, coming to Hope and losing my cat, it was kind of the next step before me losing all hope completely.”

She turned to Facebook, posting it on the Hope BC Bulletin Board, and about 27 hours later, she got to see Ainslie again.

That post on Facebook connected people with four degrees of separation between them. Luckily for Millar, a Hope resident had seen Ainslie and picked him up while driving.

That turned out to be the neighbours of a friend of Pat McCartney, who played a key role in the reuniting of Ainslie with Millar.

Those neighbours had left Ainslie at McCartney’s friend’s home the following day because they had to go to work. The friend, only known as Steve, looked after the dog and popped into McCartney’s home. At that point, McCartney did not know of the back-story surrounding the dog, until she went online.

Her friend, Sharen Hart, had shared Millar’s post.

“I got a hold of my friend Sharen and I asked her [for] a description of the dog and I had taken pictures of Ainslie, so I sent them to Sharen and then she got a hold of Laura, and it was definitely her dog,” said McCartney, who then contacted Steve.

Hart had to track Millar down because Millar does not have a cell phone. Hart tried to message Millar on Facebook, but to no avail. She called WorkBC and on the second call, she got news that Millar had gone to the Our Last Hope Animal Rescue. Hart called that number and spoke to Millar. Hart asked her to check her Facebook messages.

Hart said Millar expressed excitement and anxiety to see Ainslie again after seeing the Facebook messages.

“And then I said, it’s kind of involved. We’ll have to contact my friend, she will have to contact a friend, so I said ‘just stay calm.’ ”

Early afternoon on that Tuesday, four people, connected as “a friend of a friend,” came together at McCartney’s.

“There was definitely no doubt in anybody’s mind that Ainslie belonged to Laura,” said McCartney. “Ainslie was licking her face, and she’s almost in tears. She’s so happy.”

For Millar, her choice words to describe her feelings were “elation” and “relief.”

“I feel exhausted now because I cried a lot yesterday and it’s basically the only thing I do is wait at the rec centre,” said Millar on Aug. 8. “I really thought someone had either stolen him or that they didn’t want to give it back to me because I live out of a truck.”

“It’s quite a story — everything just clicked,” said McCartney.