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Dog lost in White Mountains turns up off Chena Hot Springs Road

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Posted: Wednesday, July 3, 2013 12:00 am | Updated: 11:52 pm, Wed Jul 3, 2013.

FAIRBANKS — River has a story to tell, but we only know the beginning and the end.

River is a 4-year-old chocolate Lab who got lost June 9 at 57 Mile Steese Highway while on a camping and hiking trip.

Isaac Rowland, 31, and River were about four miles up the Quartz Creek Trail when they encountered a couple of other people and the dog got spooked for some reason.

Isaac went after her and almost caught up with her after a few miles, but she was still panicked and ran away into the brush.

He returned the next day and couldn’t find the dog. His wife, Raena Rowland, 31, went the day after that and couldn’t find her either.

The Rowlands, who have two young children who also love the dog, wrote us last month to say they were desperate for any information. “She is extremely sweet, but nervous and sensitive,” Raena said of their dog.

The following weekend, Isaac searched for a day and found no trace of River. Later in the month, Isaac went to look for the body, but returned without any clue as to what had happened.

The Rowlands had given up hope of ever finding River until they began getting calls on June 30 about a dog that was seen at 48 Mile. A friend went out to 48 Mile Steese Highway but didn’t see any dog.

On July 1, they heard that they misunderstood the report. A dark chocolate Lab was reported at 48 Mile Chena Hot Springs Road.

It didn’t seem possible this was their dog. Isaac told Raena it would be best to stop getting her hopes up because River must have been done for by then.

But the calls about a skittish dog kept coming. Several people spotted her and left food to try to coax the animal into trusting them. The dog was covered with mosquito bites and very thin.

On Tuesday, a small child was fishing with his family at the pond when dog brushed up against him and later agreed to hop into the truck. The dog had her collar, with contact information on it.

Raena said she wants to thank everyone who helped. It seems unlikely anyone would have picked up the dog on the Steese and left her on Chena Hot Springs Road.

 It’s impossible to say how many miles the dog covered in her travels, but a straight shot from one highway to the other would be 30 or 40 miles.

         •••

POLITICAL NONSENSE: Since when is it treason to advocate for a public vote by Alaskans on a vital issue?

Not now or ever.

I have no idea what Anchorage political adman Art Hackney is thinking, but his claim that “It could legitimately be called treasonous at a state level” is beyond foolish.

He leveled that charge at state legislators who are backing the petition drive to hold a public vote on repealing the oil tax cut approved by the Legislature and governor. His comments appeared on the News-Miner editorial page Wednesday.

As with his decision to hire people to interfere with the signature-gathering process, which generated bad publicity for Art, this is a claim that is not going to help his side.

In fact, this is going to improve the chances that the petition drive will succeed and a public vote will be held.

Art claims this started because he was “challenging their misrepresentations.” No. It started because he paid people to interfere with the petition drive, which is not the same thing.

Most Alaskans are smart enough to know that calling for a public vote is not a betrayal of trust or giving aid to enemies.

As we celebrate the Fourth of July, let’s celebrate political independence and reject the idea that stifling debate with extreme statements is good for Alaska.

Dermot Cole can be reached at cole@newsminer.com or 459-7530. Follow him on Twitter:

@FDNMdermot.

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