A dog known as a hero across the country has died. Chance, a Dalmatian-fox terrier mix owned by the Fraser family in South Bar died Wednesday.
"There's no one in Canada who didn't know who Chance was," said Lori-Anne McNeil of Glace Bay, who joined hundreds of people on Dec. 5, 2009, in the search for James Delorey, 7, a young boy with autism who wandered away from his home with his dog Chance.
A blizzard hit the area soon after. Chance returned home two days later, leaving a trail for the searchers.
James was located just over one kilometre from his home, curled up under a tree. He died later in hospital.
Searchers said through impressions in the snow, it was obvious Chance laid with James throughout most of his ordeal, keeping him warm.
McNeil said the story of the heroism of Chance touched the hearts of everyone and has brought awareness about autism, saving the lives of other children in the process.
"The heartwarming pictures of Chance sitting in the hearse as it headed to the Holy Redeemer Catholic Church will never be forgotten. God bless the family for making sure Chance also got to say goodbye to James Delorey, the little boy he obviously loved."
Darren MacLeod of New Waterford was also part of the search effort. He said the story of young Delorey and Chance touched the hearts of people all over the world.
"To hear of the passing of Chance at the age of 13 was indeed sad and did bring a tear to my eye," he said.
"Chance was a dog with a special purpose, a friend, a family member and a unique and special guardian over a young boy with autism. Now he has passed and can now once again join James and be by his side and take good care of him.
"I am so very glad I got to meet this lovely dog, this very special dog."
On May 2, 2010, Chance was inducted into the Purina Animal Hall of Fame during a ceremony at the Paws Way Pet Discovery Centre in Toronto. Chance attended the ceremony along with the late James Delorey's mother Veronica Fraser.
At the time of the ceremony, Mary Siemiesz, Purina Animal Hall of Fame executive director, said Chance received the most nominations in the history of the hall of fame.
“We feel privileged to tell his story, to share it with all Canadians.”