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It’s been nearly one year since Chelsea Cardno and her dog JJ were tragically killed.
The 31-year-old went out with her beloved German shepherd on the morning of June 14, 2022, for a walk along the Mission Creek Greenway.
She left her vehicle in the parking lot on Hollywood Road South and the pair set off on a morning stroll they had done plenty of times.
Unfortunately, as Mission Creek roared due to the spring freshet, Cardno and JJ never made it back to the vehicle and soon a widespread search for the pair was launched.
Eleven days later, Cardno’s body was found by Ron MacMillan, owner of MacMillan Farms, at the edge of his property that backs onto Mission Creek, several hundred metres downstream from where she began her walk that fateful morning. JJ was never found.
As the one-year anniversary of the heartbreaking disappearance, search and discovery approaches, Cardno’s family has taken to social media to clear up a misconception surrounding their loved one’s death.
They say her death has been referenced in several media reports lately about people who have jumped into fast-flowing waters to save their animals.
However, that’s not believed to be what happened to Cardno.
“Chelsea loved her dog JJ. He was her first dog and she would do anything for him or anyone else. There is no evidence that suggests she jumped into the creek to save him or that they were anywhere close to the moving water that morning,” wrote her mother Diane.
“What we do know is that a huge section of the bank, over 10 feet above the water, collapsed into the creek where she would have been walking him, just like she did every morning before she went to work.”
She urged people to refrain from making assumptions about what happened to her daughter and added that the family may never know exactly what happened to Cardno and JJ that day.
Diane also used the opportunity to issue a warning about the dangers of waterways like Mission Creek at this time of year in hopes that no other family has to go through what they did last spring.
“We also cannot stress enough to pay attention to and respect all the high water warnings and closures to recreational areas and trails,” she wrote. “Even if the waters are looking ‘calm,’ all it takes is a few moments for that to change and for an entire life and community to change forever.”
She encourages people to check their surroundings, stay away from the banks of creeks and rivers, and keep pets leashed and out of fast-moving water.
“Also let someone know where you are going and when you will return, let them know if you are running late,” added Diane.
With the unfortunate anniversary approaching, Cardno’s family is also encouraging people who want to pay tribute to their loved one to make a donation in her name to Paws It Forward.
They say a contribution to the Kelowna dog rescue organization, which was near and dear to Cardno’s heart, would put a huge heavenly smile on her face.
Click this link to learn more about Paws It Forward and make a donation.