Jim and Mary Borrowman own and operate Stubbs Island Whale Watching which is located in picturesque Telegraph Cove on North Vancouver Island.
In February 2009 their five year old Shi Tsu, Buddy, (pictured left) weighing about eight kilograms, lay asleep outside the gift shop. Suddenly, a cougar turned up at the open front door, picked Buddy up in his mouth, and began walking down the boardwalk with him.
Horrified, Mary and her assistant, Cara Aman, ran after the cougar yelling and screaming. Buddy was struggling in the big cat’s mouth so they knew that he was still alive. Mary’s husband, Jim, grabbed an axe and chased the cougar as he took off up the stairs toward the Borrowmans’ house. When the cat growled at Jim, he quickly dropped Buddy who rolled down an embankment. Jim was able to pick him up right away.
Buddy was in terrible shape. His eyes had popped out of their sockets because of the pressure. The Borrowmans rushed the little dog to a veterinary clinic where his eyes were treated as well as a cracked jaw, broken teeth, and other injuries.
In the meantime, the cougar was treed by a neighbour’s Rhodesian Ridgeback. As a precaution, he was shot dead by a conservation officer who thought that the cat’s taste for blood might escalate his prey instincts.
Out of love for their dog, the Borrowmans forfeited their holidays last year to pay for five surgeries on Buddy. Eventually most of Buddy’s injuries healed, but he did loose his sight.
The little fellow coped well enough during the summer, but when Fall came, Mary says he seemed to be depressed and disinterested in activities. She contacted support groups online and was advised to get another dog to keep Buddy company.
Initially Jim and Mary were doubtful, because Buddy is more of a people lover than an appreciator of his own species. When Joey, a Shih-Tzu/Lhasa Apso mix, arrived as an eight week old puppy, Buddy growled at him every time he tried to play. But little by little they grew closer and closer and the dogs are now inseparable.
Mary says that it is hard to know if Joey knows whether or not Buddy’s is blind, but Buddy doesn’t go anywhere without Joey anymore. They’re always seen together greeting visitors on the boardwalks at Telegraph Cove. Joey manoevres Buddy around obstacles. He’s Buddy’s guide dog.