'So glad to be alive': Rescued dog walker leaves hospital
Published Tuesday, November 28, 2017 3:48PM PST
Last Updated Wednesday, November 29, 2017 12:47PM PST
A dog walker who went missing in the Coquitlam backcountry left hospital Tuesday, nearly a week after her remarkable story of survival made headlines across the country.
"I'm just so glad to be alive. I'm just so happy. It's hard to describe," Annette Poitras told reporters as she emerged in a wheelchair from Royal Columbia Hospital, accompanied by her husband, Marcel.
The 56-year-old, her dog Chloe and two clients' pets she was taking for a walk were found alive last Wednesday in a watershed area near Burke Mountain, three days after they were reported missing.
"I saw that helicopter over and over and over again and if I stayed one more night—Thursday—I wasn't going to make it," she said.
Poitras was in an area between two raging streams, huddled with Chloe, Roxy and Bubba, who she says helped keep her alive.
"I tell you, I wasn't getting off that mountain without those dogs—no way," she said.
Marcel said Roxy, one of Poitras' clients' dogs was "a big help."
"That's who kept her warm at night and she was the one that barked where the rescuers were close," he said.
- Read more on their survival story here
The dog walker had slipped and fallen, injuring her back enough that she couldn't hike out of the area on her own.
On Tuesday, Poitras said the impact knocked her out.
"I don't know how long I was out for, but I knew it was getting dark," she said.
When she came to, Bubba, a 13-year-old puggle, was missing.
"There was no way in hell I was going to get off that mountain until I found Bubba," she said.
The RCMP said Poitras was located by a team that began with a wide area and narrowed in on places she might be.
Rescue teams from the North Shore, Surrey, Ridge Meadows, Sunshine Coast and Lions Bay joined the effort the two days after she disappeared.
As many as 100 people were searching the area by Wednesday morning.
"People came out of nowhere. I didn't realize people had it in them… I'm absolutely amazed and I thank everybody."
Poitras stopped by Coquitlam Search and Rescue headquarters on Tuesday evening to thank some of the people who helped save her.
The team later tweeted a photo of the meeting, saying "Annette dropped by our training tonight to say hi. Here she is with some of the ground SAR members who found her."
Now, Poitras says she's excited for things to go back to normal.
"I'm going to go home, I'm going to lie on that couch and just be thankful I'm here," she said, adding that she intends to keep walking dogs once she's fully recovered.
"That's my life. I love them.”
With files from CTV Vancouver's Maria Weisgarber
Annette dropped by our training tonight to say hi. Here she is with some of the ground SAR members who found her. pic.twitter.com/8UG99FX0LM— Coquitlam SAR (@CoquitlamSAR) November 29, 2017