Luna the rescue Jindo was spotted after Grouse Mountain staff noticed paw prints in the snow leading to the Olympic Express Chair.
A dog that went missing in North Vancouver has been reunited with her family in a “Christmas miracle” after being spotted under a chairlift at Grouse Mountain, 15 days after disappearing.
Luna, a 3-year-old Jindo, was spooked on an evening walk with her owner Bianca Camacho on November 29 near the Sutherland High School track at 18th and Williams in North Vancouver.
Camacho said she had been training Luna - who she and her partner Kyle Silva rescued from the Korean meat trade five months ago - by trying to improve her confidence in walking up to different houses and apartments.
After accidentally dropping Luna's leash, Camacho said she bent down to pick it up but ended up spooking the anxious Jindo, who "took off running down the street".
"It all happened so fast. I barely had time to register her running away. I was just in total shock. It was pretty awful," Camacho tells OhMyDog!.
"She has a collar, a harness, she's got two leashes. I did everything I thought was right to make sure she never accidentally ran away and it was human error - an accident - when I dropped her leash and she got away from me. Never did I think that would happen to my own dog."
A "nightmare" two-week search commenced with friends, family, and even strangers looking for Luna after Camacho was able to use an existing lost dog Facebook page - where the dog had been reunited with its family - to post updates on the hunt for the missing Jindo.
But it was on the morning of December 14 when Luna would finally be found, when Grouse Mountain operations team members spotted pawprints in the snow near the base of the Olympic Express Chairlift, and found Luna hiding under the load platform.
Melissa Taylor, Grouse Mountain Communications Manager, said team member Gordon McNaughton was able to crawl under the platform to tempt the dog out before driving her in a snow cat to a lift hut to warm up.
Luna was even wrapped up in McNaughton's sweater to warm up after her 15-day ordeal.
A heart-warming reunion after 15 long days
Taylor said the team had recognised Luna from the Lost Dog North Vancouver / Lynn Valley Facebook group which had been posting updates and sightings of the Jindo since she disappeared, and were able to reach her owners.
Camacho was sent a message by Grouse Mountain staff, and said the first time she opened the photo they took of her, she didn't think it was her dog.
"I was so shocked. And then when I registered it was her my hands started trembling, I started crying. I was shaking. I was just so excited, I could barely think straight."
In a heart-warming reunion video shared by Grouse Mountain on Facebook, Luna is seen riding the Skyride in a kennel crate with Kevin Smith, Mountain Operations Manager at Grouse Mountain, as her owners wait to embrace her.
Camacho and Silva can be heard crying tears of joy as they stroke Luna through the bars of her crate.
Taylor added: "We are thrilled our team was able to help reunite Luna with her family before Christmas."
Despite losing a fair bit of weight on her two week ordeal and having some broken nails, Camacho said Luna is in good spirits and "is following us around the kitchen every second she gets hungry".
As a traumatized and anxious dog formerly destined for the Korean meat trade, Camacho said her experience has actually improved her spirit, and she has a "glimmer of confidence she didn't have before".
"I feel like she totally owned it and she was like, I'm gonna survive this. I survived way worse and I'm gonna survive again. She's our little survivor."
As for how Luna managed to make her way to the top of the mountain, Camacho theorises that she simply wanted to escape from other dogs and people, and said it "almost doesn't surprise me at all... that she was on the top of a mountain totally isolated."
Camacho described the reunion on Facebook as a "Christmas miracle", telling OhMyDog!: "Honestly, I couldn't have asked for a better gift. When I was looking for her, I told people you know what, that's all I want for Christmas is I want her back home with us."