(Submitted by Tia Hanna - image credit)
Elusive dog Minky Three-Paws had evaded capture for weeks, his paw stuck in a trap, until animal lover Tia Hanna came along with the most alluring bait — a chicken wing and barbeque sauce.
Minky Three-Paws is a stray dog who was spotted running around Frank Channel, near Edzo and Behchoko, N.W.T., in November.
After police and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources failed to catch him, the humane society called Hanna, who has been capturing strays for almost a decade, in January.
"I had people say, 'OK, good luck, I don't think you're ever going to catch him,'" she said.
Residents and officials had tried several times to capture the three-legged dog. At one time, they saw him with a trap on his foot and cornered him in an area where there was a fish net. In his struggle to escape, Minky Three-Paws got tangled in the fish net but lost the trap he had been carrying for a while, and got away.
Some residents, including an elderly woman, put out food scraps on their front porches for Minky.
Each time Hanna returned to the area from Yellowknife, she would talk to the elderly woman who told her Minky was eating regularly.
"I knew there was also a chance he could be killed by wolves before we got him and every time I went down I was like, 'Thank God, he's still alive,'" said Hanna.
In speaking with ENR officials about how best to catch the dog, Hanna said they considered darts, but a wildlife vet with the department "felt strongly" it wouldn't be safe.
Even wolves can be killed by the dart gun in the colder months, because the animal loses its ability to regulate its body temperature, said Hanna.
"If a dog has such high adrenaline or the dosage is wrong ... there is a possibility they're not sedated enough for capture and they can continue to evade you and then they're at risk of dying," she said.
Minky Three-Paws was captured near Frank Channel Feb. 8.
The stakeout. The capture.
Hanna and her partner Cam Thomas spent two and a half weeks setting up traps beginning in late January and, in that time, caught seven other strays.
As their hopes of capturing Minky waned, Hanna turned to every stray's weakness — a whole Co-op chicken drumstick coated in smoky barbeque and honey garlic sauce.
Hanna and her dog-catching assistant, Cat McGurk, held an evening stakeout on the south side of Frank Channel on Feb. 8. They sat in the truck from 2 p.m. until about 10:30 p.m. when they finally captured the elusive dog.
Hanna, McGurk and Minky Three-Paws piled into the car that evening and went to Great Slave Animal Hospital where the dog underwent surgery.
Three-Paws is now convalescing at Hanna's house.
"He seems to be a very gentle dog," she said.
"I can just see in his eyes that he's pleading, 'I just want a warm sofa and some moose meat every day and I'll be happy and I'll love you and I'll be loyal.'"