This sign, the kindness of a stranger and a pair of dirty drawers—the lengths dog owners go to retrieve our furry friends.


Skiers, snowmobilers, snowshoers and others traveling across the Storm Castle Bridge during the holidays might have glimpsed a small sign alerting the world to the disappearance of a nine-year-old husky named Phoenix. 

Turns out, James Ermoian, who works at the Hideaway Lounge in Bozeman, was out collecting pine burls in the area. He plans to use the wood to make furniture or bowls and he brought Phoenix along. 

But while scavenging wood in the forest near Storm Castle, Phoenix took off. 

“He runs off all the time when we’re out in the woods,” said Ermoian. “We just had a baby and he’s been kind of getting needy. And usually when you lose a dog in the woods, you leave an article of clothing.” 

But Ermoian didn’t have any of his own clothing he could leave. 

“All I had was a pair of my wife’s dirty drawers,” said Ermoian, who decided to go the extra mile and double-scent the article of clothing. “I actually tied a pair of the wife’s dirty drawers to a tree and peed on those.” 

While in the act, a family visiting from California came by and apparently were not sure what to make of the scene.

“I think they wanted to pretend like they didn’t see it,” said Ermoian.

Thankfully, a few hours later, Phoenix made his way safely across Highway 191 and into the care of a concerned Gallatin Canyon resident. 

“It’s been nine years of dealing with this,” said Ermoian, adding that Phoenix has his own Instagram page. “Now he’s been upset about the baby so he’s running off.”


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