Baker Gardens residents hope lost dog has found its home

When a shivering dog turned up on Sandi McWhirtier's doorstep in Cranbrook, she took it in and the little dog stole the heart of a community

Residents Sandi McWhirtier and Emmanuel Murphy sit with Baker near the Baker Gardens complex.

Residents Sandi McWhirtier and Emmanuel Murphy sit with Baker near the Baker Gardens complex.

When Sandi McWhirtier opened the door during last week’s cold spell, she never expected to find a small shivering dog in front of her porch.

She picked him up and, after walking up and down a few blocks looking for the owners, brought him inside to warm up. A week later and the dog, being called Baker, has become the darling of Baker Gardens, a modular housing complex for seniors and persons with disabilities.

“He has the people around here loving him,” she said. “They just love him to death. It’s inspiring just to have him around.”

McWhirtier recalls seeing mysterious taillights outside as she was watching TV the night the dog appeared. She went out for a smoke and to look around and that’s when she heard him.

“He was out there in the freezing cold,” McWhirtier said. “I heard this little weeny bark, and here was this little dog.”

McWhirtier said the problems came in the last few days, as she is not allowed under the Canadian Mental Heath Association (CMHA) lease agreement to keep pets. None of the tenants are.

Nancy Rawson, property manager for CMHA Kootenays sent McWhirtier a letter stating that the dog needed to be removed by April 25, or she risked being evicted.

To comply, McWhirtier has the dog staying with a friend until the owners are found. If they can’t be found, then she hopes to have him certified as a companion dog so that he may be allowed to live with her. She said she is willing to pay for the certification despite the costs she might incur.

The residents of Baker Gardens have also put together a petition, already 21 names strong, which asks the CMHA to consider allowing Baker to stay as the community dog.

McWhirtier said Baker is of great benefit to the complex and herself, providing a sense of community as each resident comes around to see the friendly dog.

She also said that he’s helped with her depression.

Where the dog came from is anybody’s guess; it showed up and so far McWhirtier has been trying in vain to find the owners.

She said she’s put in calls to all the vets in town, the SPCA and nearby apartments. She’s even contacted the nearby Mount Baker RV Park to see if maybe someone from out of town reported their dog missing, but the only one that was reported missing was a female dog that answers to the name Peanuts.

McWhirter said she had another strange visitor awhile back, when a Canada goose showed up at her door, came inside and slept near her bed. The next day she said she phoned the conservation officer, who said he’d never heard of that happening.

While the goose had to be taken back to its kind in the wild, the residents of Baker Garden have adopted Baker as one of their own, and hope that he can stay around.