Vancouver Island woman searching for missing dog who's trained to help with her diabetes

A Vancouver Island woman is desperately searching for her missing dog, who can help with her diabetes in an emergency.

Ciara Cownden has been living with diabetes for 19 years. "I have type 1 diabetes," she told CTV News. "I’ve had a couple of close calls before."

If Cownden’s blood sugar were to suddenly drop, she could be in big trouble, especially without her companion.

"So having that dog there to bring you what you need immediately, especially if you’re alone, it can be a life saver," she said.

Cownden's dog, Daisy, has been trained to help by completing tasks like fetching her a juice box if her blood sugar levels suddenly drop. Cownden's dog has also been trained to bring her blood sugar monitoring device.

"When your blood sugar drops, your ability to think clearly isn’t there," said the dog owner.

In an emergency, the ten-month-old pup calms her down, preventing her from panicking. But now, Daisy is missing.


While out for a walk on May 12 near Shawnigan Lake, Daisy slipped out of her GPS collar. Then, something startled her and she ran into the bushes.

The following day, Daisy was spotted on the other side of the lake, a good 20 kilometres away near the Village of Shawnigan Lake.

"She hasn’t been spotted in about three and half days now," said Cownden on Friday.

More than 200 posters have been put up around the area. Search parties have also gone out with no luck.

On Friday, animal recovery group FLED launched a drone in the hopes that Daisy could be found.

"There's a bear we’ve found on the other side of the swamp here that’s been hanging around," said Gary Shade, co-owner of FLED.

Shade thinks the bear may have sent Daisy into the nearby hills.

"She’ll eventually come out," he said. "She may not find anymore rabbits to eat and she’ll work her way down."

"Someone will be walking and just stumble across her, but we just need that one sighting, that’s all it takes," he said.

Daisy is roughly 25 to 30 pounds. She's white with brown spots and has blue eyes.

If you happen to see Daisy, you are asked not to approach the pooch and instead call FLED at 250-479-0911 or 250-213-1420 with a description of the direction that the dog was travelling.

"Don’t try to chase her, she’ll run away because she’s too scared," said Cownden. "Normally she’s a very social dog with other dogs, people, with everybody. But at this point she’s too scared."