Paddling to from coast to coast to show his appreciation for the men and women of the Canadian Armed Forces, Mike Ranta had one of the worst things imaginable happen to him: losing his paddling partner his dog Spitzii.
Ranta, whose brother served in the Canadian Armed Forces, had the unpleasant scare earlier this week that he might have lost his only companion on his five-month journey paddling across Canada.
The dog first went missing, according to Ranta’s Facebook post, on the afternoon of July 10 after a bad current caused the canoe to flip. The dog ran off as soon as the pair reached shore.
“I don’t know how to handle this! There’s a lot of wolf scat in the area, but thankfully I haven’t heard them yet! I’m trying to stay positive, but it’s been too long, and he should’ve came back by now! I’ve ran around hollering for him and I slipped and fell into an old river bed and hurt my back a bit and my voice is starting to fade from yelling! Spitzii is a tough pup but I know what lurks in these bushes and what they’re capable of doing! I’m gonna set up camp and I’m not leaving here till I figure out where he is, I owe him that and then some! please keep him in your prayers! this is so heartbreaking,” said Ranta in a Facebook post two hours into the search.
Immediately, Ranta received messages of support and well-wishes, people volunteered to help look for the dog and several media outlets published stories on the situation to get the word out.
It wasn’t until the morning of July 11 that Ranta reunited with Spitzii, thanks to the help of his Uncle Bert. The dog was found 1.5 km down the river from where he last was seen.
“Thanks to all who came out to help and TBT News for all their support and quick notification in the media! Spitzii is safe and sound and lucky to be here and he knows it!These bushes are incredibly unforgiving at times and the Gods themselves must have been watching over him! Like a Veteran we must keep moving forward and this time we got lucky! Think about all the men and women of our Armed Forces who leave home and don’t make it back. This is just a reminder of what we’re up against out here and how quickly things can turn for the bad! It also put us into perspective as to why we do it,” stated Ranta on Facebook.
Spitzii plays an important role as a comrade to Ranta, who is currently 103 days into his journey paddling across Canada. He spends the better part of his expedition in the most remote locations of Canada, where “many times, death looks him in the eye.”
The solo paddler from Atikokan, Ont. began his journey on April 1 in Vancouver, BC. He’s already paddled across the country once but hoped to do it again this summer to show appreciation for the veteran community.
“I’m doing it this time for our veterans… I just want to show appreciation to our veterans out there. Especially our World War Two guys. We’re losing them fast. The sacrifices they made so long ago, I just want them to know, from my point of view and my own town’s point of view, that they’re not forgotten. These are great people in our history,” Ranta told CBC News just two weeks into his journey earlier this year.
The duo’s odyssey will culminate when they reach Cape Breton, NS sometime in September.
Stay tuned as CMF Magazine hopes to catch-up with Mike Ranta when he paddles his way towards Ottawa.