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Aynsley Foss | Facebook

Empathy Unleashed: Neighbours Unite in Search for Stolen Dog

Empathy Unleashed: Neighbours Unite in Search for Stolen Dog
Dixie on the farm | Aynsley Foss | Facebook

Cochrane neighbours have come together in an outpouring of support and resilience in the last few weeks, united over a cause many can relate to – but few actually experience.

Dixie, Aynsley Foss’s beloved dog, was stolen two weeks ago, breaking her owner’s and neighbours’ hearts wide open.

“I can honestly say I NEVER thought that someone would steal my dog. It’s soul-crushing, to say the least,” Foss wrote in a Facebook post.

She’s been begging for help locating the much-adored dog, and while Dixie hasn’t shown up yet, Foss’s pleas have certainly been heard.

Dixie was taken on November 27 from Bighill Springs Provincial Park just north of Cochrane.

Foss told the Cochrane Eagle, “We know Dixie was stolen because her Apple AirTag was manually removed from her collar. The AirTag was in a case that was weaved through her collar and could only be removed by a human.” 

Foss found the AirTag discarded in the ditch along Highway 22 north of Cochrane.

Dixie, a Maremma sheepdog, will be 3-years-old on December 14. Dixie is a livestock guardian at Foss’s farm.

Neighbours Respond

In the midst of adversity, Foss discovered a profound truth – animals unite us. 

Aynsley Foss and Dixie | Aynsley Foss | Facebook

Strangers, acquaintances, and even those with past differences with Foss have joined forces to help bring Dixie home.

“There are people who I haven’t spoken to for years, people I have never met, and even people who I thought didn’t like me, who have shown up in their own way to help me – all because they can empathize with the anguish I am feeling during this time.”

This heartening display of compassion showcases the unifying power that our furry friends possess, transcending boundaries and fostering connections.

“I never knew how big my community is and how many caring people there are out there.” 

Foss’s initial support came from the horse world, her primary community. 

Yet, as the search for Dixie unfolded, that circle of support expanded.

“I have received several hundred messages/calls each day with people trying to help – I promise I will be sure to respond and thank each of you in time,” said Foss.

The overwhelming response underscores the compassion that Albertans share even in challenging times. 

It’s taught Foss a lot along the way, and she’s realized, through messages of support, that the problem isn’t as rare as she’d imagined.

Dog Theft Is A Thing

Dog thefts took a serious spike upward in Alberta in 2019 when many dogs were stolen for underground dog fighting rings. Other dogs, like livestock guardian dogs, are stolen for their abilities and because a trained dog can be sold for upwards of $3000.

“Dog theft is on the rise in Alberta. A stolen dog is a CRIME and NEEDS to be reported to the police immediately. If the police say there isn’t anything they can do, ask to speak to another officer.” says Foss

As the search for Dixie continues, the plea for good vibes, prayers, and continued sharing of posts isn’t slowing down.

$5,000 Reward Offered

If you have a potential lead on Dixie’s whereabouts, Foss has offered a hefty cash reward to anyone who can bring about her safe return.

“Dixie means everything to me… If you are not in possession of her, but know where she is, we will ensure you are given the $5,000 cash reward for her safe return. There will be absolutely NO questions asked.”

Anyone with questions or comments can contact Foss through Facebook, at 403-477-3929 or email at

Foss remains hopeful that Dixie will find her way back, and the collective effort to keep her story alive will play a pivotal role in bringing this cherished dog home.

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