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June 21, 2021

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Trigger, Battle Ground dog missing since owner’s car stolen at ilani, found near PDX

Machetes in bramble, recognition of scent on blanket, aid rescue

By , Columbian Arts & Features Reporter

David Richardson of Battle Ground executed a jungle-reconnaissance mission, of sorts, to rescue his lost dog from the overgrown area near Portland International Airport.

Trigger, a Jack Russell and rat terrier mix, was inside Richardson’s car when it was stolen from the ilani casino resort parking lot on the night of Aug. 11.

Richardson had left the dog in the car for about half an hour, he said. When he returned to the parking lot, the car and the dog were gone. Richardson reported the theft to the Clark County Sheriff’s Office, he said, which recovered his vehicle at a house near Northeast 99th Street and Northeast St. Johns Road. But Trigger wasn’t inside. The thief still hasn’t been arrested, but Richardson plans to press the strongest charges possible, he said.

The thief did confess that he pushed Trigger out of the stolen car down in the Delta Park area of North Portland. Richardson posted photos and information, and reached out to shelters and rescue agencies in Portland. He warned them that Trigger scares easily.

About 10 days later, Richardson got a surprise phone call saying that the Oregon Air National Guard, which is based at Portland International Airport, had probably spotted Trigger sheltering in the blackberry bramble nearby. Richardson and his ex-wife drove down and attacked the bramble with machetes, he said.

To help

To help with Trigger's medical bills, visit

“We were chopping through it, creating these trails. This took a couple days,” he said, during which the National Guard kicked him off the property. He had to find the right person to request permission to go back, he said.

Richardson eventually spotted a very scared Trigger in the underbrush. The dog stayed uncooperative until he recognized his own scent on a blanket Richardson brought.

“Once he smelled his blanket he calmed down,” Richardson said.

An immediate trip to the vet identified pneumonia, an eye ulcer and many bad bruises, Richardson said. He’s launched a GoFundMe page to help with hundreds of dollars in medical bills.

“I didn’t know how much he means to me, but I know now,” Richardson said.