UPDATE: BC has returned thanks to a tip called in by a man walking his dogs. Read about BC’s reunion with his family in Your Niskayuna on Friday, July 17.
NISKAYUNA — If you’re out and about enjoying Niskayuna’s bike trails today, keep your eyes open for a black-and-white pup hiding in the bushes.
BC, a skittish, border collie-mix rescue, has been on the run after he escaped from the Aqueduct Animal Hospital on Sunday afternoon.
Dr. Matthew Pike, veterinarian at the animal hospital, said the 30-pound dog chewed through a barrier during outdoor playtime on Sunday.
“The dog was here for daycare several times a week. We were working with the dog, and the dog was becoming less skittish with our care and attention,” he said. “We don’t know why all of a sudden this dog decided to get out.”
Pike said a monitor was outside watching the dogs play, but was not able to catch the BC when he bolted.
BC was at the hospital for boarding while his owners, Pamela Bays and Stephan Prieba, were on vacation in Germany. The husband and wife cut their trip short to search for BC after receiving a call from the animal hospital informing them of their pet’s escape.
“It was heartbreaking,” Bays said. “He’s a family dog. I was the decision factor of wanting to get the dog, but my husband loves him just as much. He’s been out looking for him too.
“We’ve barely slept in the last couple of days,” she added. “We’re just taking vacation days off work, wandering around, hoping he’ll come, see us or hear us.”
Bays and Prieba aren’t the only ones out looking for a streak of black-and-white fur in the foliage. Along with staff members from the animal hospital, Sherry Pederquist of Good Shepherd K9 Rescue has spent the last couple of days out searching, too.
“I originally rescued him from the south, and he was a shy dog back then,” Pederquist said. “I had him for four years, rehabilitating him. [Bays’] was the best home I could find for him, and the only one I would adopt to. She’s given him a fabulous home.”
The dog has been seen several times in the Niskayuna area over the past couple of days. On Wednesday morning, the most recent sighting, someone on the Mohawk Bike Trail near Blatnick Park spotted BC and called Bays.
Because the dog is naturally nervous, only its owners and people who are acquainted with the dog are actively searching. Anyone who spots BC is asked to call Bays at (202)-670-7527 or (518)-393-0755. She has asked that no one try to call or approach the dog, who will become startled and run.
“If you see him, just immediately call one of us and detail where you saw him, what direction he was going, what he was doing,” she said. “Try and be as specific to the place as possible.”
Pike said the animal hospital is doubling down on search efforts by hiring a nonprofit to create a scent trail to a humane trap for the dog. The trap will be a cage with food, water, and the scent of home. If BC steps inside, he’ll trigger a door, which will quickly shut.
The hospital’s decision to hire outside help is in addition to other search efforts, including posting 250 fliers around town and personally helping to search for BC.
“As soon as the dog got out, [it was] all hands on deck: myself, my staff, my seven year old son. We were out all day Sunday,” Pike said.
In fact, Pike himself spotted BC on Sunday and tried to call the dog. Unfortunately, nervous and skittish, the pup bolted.
“We believe the dog is still in the area and we are doing pretty much everything we can to help the dog find its way home,” Pike said.
Meanwhile, current and former owners are simply working to support each other while they wait for the sighting that will bring their pet home.
“He’s a real special dog,” Pederquist said. “We’re going to find him. We just don’t know exactly when.”
HOW YOU CAN HELP
BC is a black and white border collie mix, about 30 pounds, with a white underbelly and white paws. If spotted, do not acknowledge the dog by approaching, talking to, or even directly looking at it. Instead, call Bays at (202)-670-7527 or (518)-393-0755.