November 25th began as just an ordinary day for Brad Silbernagel and his companion dog Midnight, a black Labrador mix, as they travelled along the highway just south of Little Fort.
All of a sudden an unseen patch of black ice caused the van to spin out of control, hitting and shearing off a telephone pole and somersaulting into the ditch. Although the vehicle was totaled, Brad and 10-year-old Midnight were not seriously injured. But the dog was shocked into panic, and before Brad had a chance to restrain her, she had run off.
Fortunately luck was with Midnight, as the accident happened close to Ken Beck’s home in Darfield, who was on the scene right away, assisting Brad, and also offering to help locate the dog.
Immediately the word went out about the accident, and the traumatized dog that was on the run in strange surroundings.
Ken spoke to Rebecca McIntire, a resident in the area, who in turn called her friend Elli Kohnert, who is known as the “animal lost and found person” to call for help. Many other residents in the area were also asked to be on the lookout for a very frightened, cold and hungry dog.
Although Midnight was spotted in the area near the accident scene, she was far too scared to let anyone approach her.
Brad returned to the area to look for his dog, but after hours of fruitless searching had to give up and return to Kamloops.
Many days later Elli Kohnert received a call from the Rosen family in Darfield, to say that a black Lab mix had come to their home, but could not be approached. It was quickly established that the stray was the lost Midnight.
When Brad was notified he was ecstatic exclaiming, “I can’t believe she is alive, she has never spent a night outside.”
When he drove up the long driveway to the Rosen’s he saw his dog, and was instantly devastated that still very traumatized, she ran away from him. No amount of coaxing would bring the dog close, and eventually Brad had to return to Kamloops. Before he left though he spoke to Ken Beck, and then put out food for Midnight, and tied his shirt to the fence there so she would smell his familiar scent and hopefully eat and stay in the vicinity.
Ken loves dogs, and as a result he spent endless hours trying to coax the frightened Midnight to let him touch her.
Brad placed his dog’s doghouse, food, and blankets where she had been seen most often, hoping she would relax and stay there, but that did not happen.
The dog’s safety was uppermost in his mind when he heard shots fired in his neighborhood on the morning of Dec.1. His own dog had been shot by a neighbor, raising the fear that Midnight had met the same fate.
During the night Ken saw Midnight near his home, and he quickly placed some liver in his own dog’s secure kennel as an invitation to Midnight. That was too much for a hungry dog to resist, and when Midnight entered the enclosure she activated the yard light. The light alerted Brad that she was in there, and he quickly closed the gate. Once in a secure environment Midnight became her friendly trusting self, and followed Ken everywhere.
When Brad was notified Midnight was safe, he lost no time to get to Ken and his beloved old dog. It was an emotional, joyful reunion for him and for Midnight, and was exactly one week after she had run off.
“I can’t believe how amazingly helpful the people are in this area, it would not be the same in Kamloops,” said Brad.
On the way home to Kamloops Brad and Midnight stopped at Elli Kohnert’s house in Barriere for a brief visit. He said he wanted everyone to know how very thankful he was for the return of his dog. And Midnight was her tail-wagging, happy self; loving all the attention she received.
Brad was eager to go home though, telling Elli, “I want to get home so that I can cook her the biggest steak I can find. Then just settle down after all the worry we had, and just cuddle up with my buddy.”