UPDATE – June 5, 2 p.m.: Captain has been found! Just before noon on Friday, June 5, the errant Heeler was spotted in the vicinity of Calvin Crest and Sugar Pine, heading up a dirt road.
Faithful volunteers were able to corral him long enough for his humans to be contacted in Madera.
The Martinez family is overjoyed and taking Captain to Oakhurst Vet where he’ll be evaluated after spending nearly two weeks on the lam in the Sierra National Forest.
More information will be provided as this story continues.
MOUNTAIN AREA – People often think of their own pets as family, and that’s the case with Anica and Thomas Martinez, their two kids, and their two dogs.
Right now, they’re desperately trying to find one of their animals, after the curious canines escaped while the Merced family was camping nearby over a week ago.
The Martinez’ Husky dog Sasha was located within 48 hours, while their Queensland Heeler named Captain remains missing in the forest. Captain has been spotted as recently as yesterday, explains Michele Elam, founder of the area Facebook group Mountain Dog Watch.
“Anica and her family were camping in the Fresno Dome area Memorial Day weekend when Sasha and Captain managed to unzip the tent and run off,” says Michele. “Sasha was found by another family approximately 10 miles away, with her leash hung up on a branch at Beasore and Central Camp Roads. Captain was with her, but he was too afraid to be caught, so unfortunately he had to be left behind.”
The Martinez family is worried sick, Michele continues. They have two kids, ages 7 and 9, and Captain has been with them since he was a puppy. He’s about 18 months old now, and is Sasha’s best friend.
“She’s missing him terribly.”
Diligently trying to locate the hard-to-find pup, the Martinez family has reportedly contacted Rangers with the Sierra National Forest, and reached out to camp hosts. After Memorial day, Thomas continued to camp for several days in the Grey Mountain area, seaching his surroundings for Captain, to no avail.
“When Captain took off, he was wearing a black harness with a blue leash,” Michele says. “Captain was spotted on May 29 near Beasore Road, and again on May 30 near Kelty Meadow. He’s been seen since, between Gaggs 6S42 and Central Camp Road, Fresno Dome, Paradise Road and Sky Ranch.”
In the latest report, Captain was spotted during the evening of Monday, June 1 at 8:20 p.m., near the Chilkoot campground at Beasore. “He was still wearing his black harness, but no longer had on a leash.” Captain’s family has also left two of the dog’s blankets in strategic locations, hoping he’ll settle down long enough to be found and collected.
Speaking on behalf of the Martinez family, Michele says it’s vitally important to be mindful of the nature of this particular breed if Captain is seen again by anyone attempting to secure him.
“Captain, not unlike a typical Queensland Heeler, can be ‘sketchy’ around strangers, but he’s not at all aggressive.”
He’s been known to come to the sound of his family jingling keys, which means ‘car ride,’ and he loves to chase a flashlight or laser, adds Michele. “He’s afraid of strangers, so familiar behavior could help lure him to safety.“
If you are missing a dog or find one in the area, check out the Facebook page for the all-volunteer group Mountain Dog Watch.