Sunshine letter: A Thank You Note to our Community
Recently, we lost our 8-year old Golden Retriever, Juniper, in the Bowman Lake area 30 miles west of Truckee. The area is well known for its beauty, rugged terrain, but complex water works including dams, canals and tunnels.
Juniper, uncharacteristically, ventured away from us and went missing. A search ensued that led us over 10 miles over rough terrain through the day and through the night.
We felt alone in our search in this remote area, but once word spread that we had lost our dog, Truckee, our community, sprang into action.
Without our knowing, friends, neighbors, colleagues, staff at the Truckee-Tahoe Humane Society, and employees of the Nevada Irrigation District joined our search. We were touched and humbled. Twenty-eight hours later, Juniper was found over 2 miles from where she went missing.
Her journey is a bit unreal, but we are fortunate she survived. Juniper entered or fell into the Bowman-Spaulding Canal and was swept into the Bowman Tunnel, a dark 1.6 mile long tunnel through bedrock conveying water to downstream reservoirs.
Water in the canal/tunnel moves at roughly 4 feet per second, which meant she endured cold water, darkness, and disorientation for over 30 minutes until she emerged at the other end of the tunnel.
After that terrifying journey, she spent a night out, probably uncertain of her whereabouts. Fortunately, she stayed near the end of the tunnel until she was found. The only evidence of hope that she survived her fate alive was a recent canine paw print in some mud near the tunnel outlet. 12 hours after she went missing, scheduled flows in the canal increased to near twice what they were the day before, and resulted in a submerged tunnel.
Had she fallen into the canal hours after she did, she would not be alive today. Juniper is recovering at home here in Truckee. From the bottom of her heart and ours, thank you Truckee for your efforts, your kind thoughts, and for caring. We owe you!
Brian Hastings and Gina Kang