Category Archives: Reunions

Duke is home!

Duke being reunited with his family

Duke being reunited with his family

We are sharing this reunion story because many dogs are not reunited with their owners .  It comes down to timing issues (owners & finders stop searching for each other, or search in different places at different times), and because many people don’t have the slightest idea how to begin a search.   This is exactly what happened.

In a unexpected turn of events, Duke’s owners were found and the family has been reunited! The owners were out of the country and didn’t have international service on their phones. Duke had been in the care of the daughter-in-law when he got loose. Unfortunately, her search efforts were limited and Duke ended up being unclaimed at animal control.

When Duke’s guardians returned from their trip they were devastated. Their baby was missing and they called animal control right away. The wonderful ACO, Dana, took the time to talk to the family and through several conversations, proof of vet records, and a home visit it was determined that this family was very sincere and had been taking wonderful care of their baby before this unfortunate accident.

Today we were able to reunite the family and it was truly heartwarming. They have had Duke since he was a puppy and he had been their baby ever since. His mom sews him clothes and he sleeps in bed with them. The icing on the cake was when they showed us the baby seat they have for him in their car. They opened the driver side door and told him to get in his seat. He jumped in, jumped in the back and hopped right in the baby seat and laid down. My heart melted.

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This is a story we hear all too frequently. People go away and leave their pets in the care of someone else and end up getting loose. Please do your research about who will be caring for your pet, make sure you give them instructions on how to keep your pup safe, and contact info for who to call in the event of any emergencies.

Today we were able to reunite a dog with a family that missed him and loved him and in return, we had space to rescue a different dog who was at risk for euthanasia at a kill shelter whose owner passed away and doesn’t have a family.

Note from Lost Dogs Illinois:  As Missing Pet Partnership has stated:  More education is needed for owners, and for shelters advising owners on matters of lost pets. Improving TECHNIQUE and TIMING are two keys to improving RTO stats!

We want to thank Colleen from Perfect Pooches Adoption Agency and Dana Deutsch, North Chicago Animal Control Officer, for going the extra mile to get Duke back home to his rightful owners and allowing us to share Duke’s story.

IT ALWAYS TAKES A VILLAGE!!

This amazing reunion story is being shared for a couple of reasons:

  1. There is a need for a centralized lost and found dog database in the US.  Lost Dogs Illinois is already partnered with this FREE service called Helping Lost Pets (HeLP).  It can pull found dogs from any organization’s shelter management software system.  We need the major shelter management software suppliers to connect with HeLP so that all Found Pet Data is visible on one website. Vet Clinics, Police Departments, stray holding facilities shelters, etc. can all use HeLP for FREE.  HeLP is already connected with rescuegroups.org and sheltermanager.com. It is simple!  Just think how many more pets could be reunited!
  2. There needs to be a staff person or a group of volunteers who are trained to research dead end microchips and ID tags. Volunteers could do this right from their own home!
Riley at home.

Riley at home.

The story about Riley is no exception! It is an amazing story with many facets to it. This shy cocker spaniel got lost from his Mom while visiting friends in Palatine. Somehow he was brought into CACC in Chicago! Riley’s Mom contacted all the local PD’s and shelters from near where he got lost but she never thought to go as far as CACC in her search!!! Riley was lucky enough to have a microchip, however when he and his Mom moved from Pennsylvania she didn’t understand how it worked and she did not update her contact info which was unlucky for Riley. Consequently, CACC, animal control sent a letter to the only address on file, which was no longer valid, an old address in Pennsylvania. Riley was on a 7 day ‘letter hold’ at CACC awaiting a response from his Mom who did not receive the letter that was sent to the wrong address. Meanwhile, a fellow rescuer, Jacyln, noted this handsome dog who clearly had a home and took some photos and shared them with the rescue community. She also noted he looked like another lost dog out of Ohio belonging to, Laura . While she and I worked on that angle we hit a brick wall when the microchips did not match. The letter hold was nearing its end. Riley would be city property on 1/16/16, only available to rescues or perhaps the euthanasia room Another rescuer, Juliette was desperately seeking refuge for Riley and also convinced he was missing his family. Inspired by Juliette, I decided to do a little research on the chip and within an hour I had found Riley’s Mom. The wonders of Google and Facebook messaging had Riley’s Mom, Diane, in contact me within minutes. This was her dog, no doubt! Diane would be at CACC at noon armed with her paperwork and proof this was her Riley. However, another rescue trumped my hold request and they were going to pull him and place him in their rescue! Thankfully, both Juliette and I frantically contacted CACC via emails/phone calls and told them the story. CACC contacted the rescue, Furever Rescue, who graciously backed away and let the owner take her dog home. ( In addition to this, Furever has kindly offered to send a groomer to RIley’s home to care of those mats!)

Diane was the first person in the door at CACC today ready to take her guy home! Riley has kennel cough and was stinky and matted from his ordeal but he has gotten a bath settled in and is done with any more adventures to Chicago says his Mom, Diane. Riley proves that lost dogs can find their way home in spite of the hurdles. Riley’s story tells us lost dogs can be anywhere not just near the place they got lost from and we must look everywhere. Riley reminds me that every rescue must fully explain the importance of the microchip to their adopters as well as to keep them up date and to call them when their dog goes missing Riley’s story is also about the power of networking and sharing lost dogs on Facebook and all of us working together. You never know who will see your post that end of saving a life. Please don’t just “like” a post, please “share” it ! To everyone whose life he touched we are all the richer for it! Riley’s story involved a village to get him back home. Thanks to everyone who brought him home!!!.

Thank you, Maria Therese!

“People Told Us She Had Gone Off to Die”

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Nala resting at home!

When Nala went missing from her Schaumburg, Ill., home in late November 2015, well-meaning people told her family that the 13-year-old Golden Retriever had likely just “gone off to die.”

“We had had her from the time she was eight weeks old, and I didn’t want to hear that,” said Jean Cullen, the family matriarch.

The Cullens had installed an invisible fence around their property so Nala could have the run of the yard. However, the fence had deteriorated over the years, and Nala eventually figured out where the gaps were.

“We would let her out, and she would visit our next-door neighbor and our neighbor two doors down, looking for treats,” Jean said. “She would always come back within 15 or 20 minutes, when she heard us call her name.”

On November 30, though, Nala didn’t come back when called. The neighbors said they hadn’t seen her.

The family put up posters and looked for Nala under bushes and in neighbors’ sheds and garages, all to no avail. Jean also posted a lost-dog alert on Lost Dogs Illinois, on the recommendation of a co-worker.

Although she and her husband both had to leave town on business trips, the Cullens’ teenage son continued to search while they were gone.

He called them Dec. 6 to say Nala had been found – alive – in a basement window well of their neighbors’ house, two doors down.

A window well is a semi-circular area, several feet deep, dug out around an underground basement window that allows light to come in. The family that owned the house said they never heard Nala bark or make any other noise the entire time she was in the well, despite the fact they are in the basement quite often.

It wasn’t until they moved their boxes of Christmas decorations piled in front of the window that they saw her, staring back at them.

“Her groomer said Nala is such a mild-mannered dog, she probably thought she had done something wrong and didn’t want to call attention to it by barking,” Jean said.

It had rained during the week Nala was gone, and she likely drank the inch or two of rainwater that accumulated in the well. Still, “She lost eight pounds and couldn’t stand,” Jean said.

“She had no broken bones, just some scratches and was really weak.”

Nala was back to her usual weight (52 lbs.) within a week of her homecoming. The Cullens now have a long tie-out post in the backyard for her, wanting to take no more chances.

“Her wandering days are over,” Jean said. “It’s the most traumatic thing I’ve ever been through, and I am so grateful to the Lost Dogs Illinois volunteers for contacting us several times to give us support and hope.

“I was afraid that, after a week, she had been stolen or was dead,” Jean continued. “The volunteers eased our pain; they were so concerned for us and for her.”

Jean says she has learned an important lesson from this experience.

“Never give up, and don’t be afraid to go outside your comfort zone to find your pet,” she said.

“Who would have thought we’d find Nala at the bottom of a window well?”

Losing Their Way

Thank you Lydia Rypcinski, free lance writer.

 

Losing and Finding Jimmy – Reaching out to Lost Dogs of America/Lost Dogs Illinois

Jimmy

Jimmy

Two weeks ago, Lost Dogs Illinois received an email from a woman located in Seattle, Washington who needed help in capturing her shy, scared and confused dog named Jimmy.  We exchanged emails several times giving advice and suggestions.  We asked her to share her story.  Welcome Home Jimmy!

LOSING JIMMY

At the end of July 2015, I got two little dogs who had been rescued from a puppy mill:  Ladybug, a rat terrier breeder (who was due to be euthanized by the breeder because she was too old to have any more litters); and Jimmy, a one-year-old toy fox terrier (TFT).  I have had a lot of dogs, but they have all been big, bouncy, confident dogs (mostly mixed breeds).  Having small dogs was a new experience for me but, by Thanksgiving, I felt like both dogs were really integrated into our family.

The night before the holiday, I took both dogs with me to visit a family member who lived in an apartment about five miles away from my home.  I couldn’t find a leash for Ladybug in the house, but knew there was one in my car.  At the last minute, however, I wound up riding with someone else and forgot to get the leash.  I was a little concerned, but Ladybug always stays close to me when she is off leash (which is only when we are going from the front door to the car or vice versa), and even if she goes sniffing around the driveway, she always comes immediately when I call.  So I figured it would be okay.  Let’s call this “Big Mistake #1.”  ALWAYS HAVE PROPER RESTRAINTS ON YOUR DOG WHENEVER YOU TRAVEL ANYWHERE.

We got to the apartment without any mishaps and spent a couple of hours visiting and making appetizers for the next day.  The dogs seemed happy scrounging for scraps under the kitchen table.  I was feeling a little lazy and the apartment was a second-floor walkup, so I asked my hostess if she would take the two dogs for a pee break.  Big Mistake #2.  NEVER ASSUME THAT YOUR DOG WILL BE COMFORTABLE WITH ANYONE, EVEN SOMEONE THEY ALREADY KNOW.

I asked if we shouldn’t put the harness on Jimmy, instead of just a collar, but my hostess thought it would be okay.  Big Mistake #3.  A FRIGHTENED DOG CAN GET ALMOST ALWAYS GET OUT OF A COLLAR.  MAKE SURE YOUR DOG IS SECURE.

As they were leaving, it was clear that the dogs didn’t want to go with my hostess.  They were obviously distressed, but after a few seconds, she seemed to have them under control, so I was relieved and let them go.  Big Mistake #4.  LISTEN TO YOUR DOG – IF HE DOESN’T WANT TO GO WITH SOMEONE, DON’T MAKE HIM!  (I now realize that my dogs were thinking – “they are trying to take me away from my human,” so of course they were scared.)

After a few minutes, we thought we heard my hostess shouting outside.  One of the other guests went down to the street, but didn’t see anything and came back up.  We waited for them all to come back, but they didn’t.  At some point we realized that our hostess had left her cell phone in the apartment (can we say Big Mistake #5?).  IF YOU HAVE A CELL PHONE, KEEP IT WITH YOU WHENEVER YOU ARE WITH YOUR DOG OUTSIDE OF YOUR HOUSE OR YARD – YOU NEVER KNOW WHEN YOU MIGHT NEED HELP (ESPECIALLY IF YOU ARE NOT IN YOUR OWN NEIGHBORHOOD).

After about 45 minutes, our hostess appeared, breathless and upset.  She said she had lost both of the dogs and we should come look for them.  As we arrived at the front door, Ladybug appeared.  Our hostess took her upstairs and the rest of us went looking.  Needless to say, we couldn’t find Jimmy anywhere, although a couple of people reported seeing him running.  We gave up and went back to the apartment.  Jimmy was lost.

FINDING JIMMY

We spent the next three days looking for Jimmy.  There are plenty of resources that can tell you how to conduct a successful search, but please let me summarize our actions and tell you what worked the best.

  • Wednesday night, we put a posting up on craigslist (we got two reported sightings from this posting)
  • I also started posting Jimmy’s picture on Facebook and Twitter and people started re-posting the notice
  • Thursday morning we printed off some posters with Jimmy’s picture and posted them on telephone poles and in a 24-hour vet clinic in the area (we got two sightings from posters)
  • Friday I went to the neighborhood and sat in my car and called Jimmy from two locations – this was wasted effort
  • There is a lot of foot traffic in this neighborhood, so Saturday morning, we ran off some quarter-sheet flyers so we could give them to people
  • We also set up a public Facebook page to coordinate information and invited lots and lots of people to “like” the page (according to FB metrics, this page reached more than 350 people; although it didn’t make a lot of difference in finding Jimmy, I started getting hundreds of messages every day from people who wanted to show their support – that made a big difference in keeping me going and not just sitting around being depressed and guilty about losing my dog)
  • Saturday, we got a call for a sighting in an area about six blocks away from where Jimmy was lost – we focused on handing out flyers to people in the street and putting them on parked cars
  • Saturday night, I went back to the area and just sat in my car for about five hours – mostly so I could just be in the area and again this was wasted time and energy
  • Sunday we went back to handing out flyers and found out that the Saturday sighting had pointed us in the wrong direction – we had focused on the blocks east of the sighting when we should have gone west – we went back and started passing out flyers
  • Almost immediately, I got a call from someone who said Jimmy had been hanging out in yards on her block (on both sides of the street) – we went to visit the person and learned that he had been hanging around since Saturday – Jimmy was found!

RECOVERING JIMMY

Around the time we tracked Jimmy down to one small area, someone sent me the article on Shy and Elusive Dogs.  I sent an email using the links on the website (lostdogsofamerica.org) and received a response from the Director of Lost Dogs Illinois.  I finally understood that calling Jimmy was not going to make him come running.  Jimmy was viewing humans – all humans – as predators, so we needed to let people know that they shouldn’t try to call him or coax him or catch him.

The neighbor who had first contacted me said that Jimmy had mostly been seen in three yards on the other side of the street.  She suggested that we set up a feeding station for him in the middle house and I went and met the homeowner.  He had seen Jimmy coming in and out of his yard and had already put out food.  By Sunday evening, the food and water were in the yard, tucked away under a bush.

Monday morning I dropped off some food from home and a well-scented blanket.  During the day, our volunteer advisers from Lost Dogs of America sent me text for people in the neighborhood and I created this flyer.  After work, I went and handed it out to each house on the block and talked with as many people as I could.  I stopped off in the yard with the feeding station and saw that the homeowner had also put out a small dog carrier and put the blanket inside of it.

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Thank you Lost Dogs of Wisconsin. This letter has been used in several lost dog recoveries both in Illinois and Wisconsin.

Tuesday, I got a call from the homeowner.  He had seen Jimmy quite a few times and it looked like someone had slept in the carrier.  He also said that there were little paw prints all over his porch and that Jimmy had popped on the welcome mat.  He took this as a sign that Jimmy was feeling a little more secure in that yard.  I also got a call from the neighbor across the street, who was going every day to put wet food on the ground near the feeding station.  We all agreed to just keep up the feedings.  I also contacted our City Animal Control department, which is able to set humane traps to catch elusive dogs.  The trapping officer only works Wednesday through Saturday, so I left a message for her to contact me.

Wednesday there were more sightings in the three yards.  One person said Jimmy had actually gone up onto her deck for a little while.  I was glad to hear that he seemed to be staying put, but I was also really missing my pup and kept thinking about him getting hit by a car.  It was a hard night.

Thursday morning, I decided that I needed to try to make contact, so that at least Jimmy would know that I hadn’t abandoned him.  I took the day off and got to the yard with the food around 9 a.m.  I bundled up in another funky blanket and lay down on the porch.  I had only been there a few minutes when Jimmy appeared.  I ignored him and he paused when he saw me on the porch, but went on to grab some food and left.

I stayed buried in the blanket and peeked out.  He kept coming back every few minutes.  I decided to cover my head too so I wouldn’t be tempted to make eye contact.  After about ten minutes I heard a little whine and when I peeked out, Jimmy was very cautiously approaching me.  He was obviously frightened, so I didn’t do anything except lift the blanket in a little bit.  He snuck in and kept sniffling.  By the time he was all the way under the blanket, he knew it was me.

I let Jimmy lick my face for a few minutes and then made him put on the harness I had ready.  That’s pretty much the whole story.  He was a little skinny, but checked out okay when I took him to the vet.  I feel extremely lucky, knowing how many lost dogs never make it home.  You can believe I will be putting all the lessons I learned into effect and remembering all of my Big Mistakes.  Thankfully, while we were looking for Jimmy, someone sent me the article from the Lost Dogs of America website about shy and elusive dogs, or I don’t think we would have successfully recovered my dog.

So Jimmy’s owner sent this last tip to me:  We have never used this before – but whatever it takes……..About scent marking for a stray dog:  It’s standard advice to scent mark in the area where the dog has been seen, especially if you have set up a feeding station.  I’ve see suggestions to use a dirty piece of clothing or a blanket from home.  Personally, as I tend to think like a dog, I believe that urine is the best scent marker.  Just pee into a disposable cup and then transfer the urine to a little dropper or squirt bottle – the kind that eye drops or nose spray come in is perfect (then put the filled dropper bottle inside a Ziploc bag in case of leaking).  It only takes a few drops in different locations in the area where the dog has been sighted — try to renew the markings once a day.  Just make sure that the drops form into a “trail” leading back to the yard where the dog is being fed.  You may think that the dog doesn’t know what your urine smells like, but you’re wrong.  Your dog’s nose will tell him that you have been there.

Bella, Bella Where are you?

Bella at home

Bella at home

Bella’s story as told by her family:

 At 7am Thursday, I received the call we had been waiting for, “Your dog is at the end of our driveway, but headed North when I opened the garage.”  “I live on Bordeaux & I have one of your flyers. It’s her. She looks good other than being thin.” said Marie. Off we went armed with heavy treats and for once, HOPE. I knew in my heart of hearts (and my gut) she was still in the area. Marie’s house was actually the house she was last seen at on Friday night by the neighbor (and our new BFF), Bob. We were told not to be excited & shouting her name because she’s scared. Danny dropped me where she ran off to with Lilly (our other dog) and he went to scour the other neighborhood just North.

The plan started. We called some folks at Foster2Home & also a woman named, Vicky, who gave us advice. We could finally make the call we were waiting for to safely trap her.  We called Lake County Animal Care to rent a humane trap.  I went home to get stinky food, her bowl, a lawn chair and some other things for a stake-out. Our girl was here & I wasn’t leaving till we had her. I set up a mini safety zone for her while I waited for Danny to get the trap.  I was at the end of Bob’s property with food, blankets, my clothes (for scent) and of course, Lilly’s markings. She would cry as we walked around the area confirming Bella was close and had been there.

I sat at the neighbors house waiting….no sightings. That was finally okay though, because she WAS there….6 days later. We decide to set up the trap at Marie’s house since she, as we found out by her son, was comfortable showing herself there. He saw her Sunday night there as well. I ran home to get even stinkier food, food for me, clothes, blankets, towels, Lilly, my computer, and even toilet paper. Yes, I was staying a while and wasn’t going to miss her! I parked my car at the neighbor’s half drive facing the trap and low and behold, l locked my keys in the car with Lilly AND my phone. I ran to Bob’s house to call & have Sandy get the second keys. She said she would, but needed to finish something first. So I decided to walk the field just West across the street that had no entrance. That was interesting to get through & added to the already outdoorsy smell I had going. I walked the entire field clicking her leash, using her squeaky toy, very calmly & quietly saying her name. I also waved bacon as it was windy. She was around, I could feel her. She could hear me, I just knew.

I went back to car to get the keys (yes, thank you Sandy) and set up my stakeout. We settled in, Lilly resting in her kennel and me popping open my computer and doing work. I figured it would be dusk before she’d come out. Boy was I wrong, an hour later something catches my right eye, I turn and there’s our Bella boo walking up the drive towards the car. OMG, OMG, OMG is what I felt and then thought, stay calm, grab food, a leash and be quiet. I got out leaving the door open and didn’t see her, so I started throwing food and quietly saying her name…and then the miracle happened, she POKED me with her nose from behind. I swung around and there she stood, tail wagging, eyes red and with a look like ” I’m freaking ready to go mom.  You can leash me and I’ ll lead the way.”  I am not sure how many times I said OMG in the next 30 seconds….I was shaking. She jumped in the front under the steering wheel and curled up on the pedals and looked at me like, let’s go. All I could think was, did this really happen and was it that easy???? The answer was YES. We had our girl back and I was taking her home. Finally after 6 of the longest days of my life.

I am ready to go home, Mom!

I am ready to go home, Mom!

What got us here….

#1, FAITH, the ability to believe without seeing.  Always keep your faith, trust your instincts (if I hadn’t we wouldn’t have focused there)

#2, ALL of YOU. Without you, I would’ve cracked and who knows if I’d be as persistent. The Facebook community is unreal how quickly things can get out and the love and support that comes with it.

#3,  a FLYER and some amazing people who grabbed on to this story and wanted to see her home. You all could imagine what we were going through and wanted her back, too!

And #4, BELLA and HER instincts! She was done with her adventure, smelled me out and found her way to me with that sweet face.

I’m still in disbelief AND I am now whole again. I cannot thank you ALL enough for your love and support. We are overwhelmed by this whole experience.

Bella and Lilly together finally!

Bella and Lilly together finally!

“The Chicago Way” Helps Kyra Get Home

 

Kyra 2 11-30-15

Kyra

Long-time Chicago residents are familiar with “The Chicago Way”:  it’s often not what you know, but who you know, that gets things done in this city.

So when Andy Csapo opened the tool shed in back of his family’s funeral home on Chicago’s Northwest on Nov. 20 and saw two eyes glowing in the back of the shed, the first thing he did was tell his wife, Joyce.

“The shed is just an enclosed outdoor stairwell, and the door has a missing slat on the bottom, so it must have crawled through that,” Andy said.

“I could make out a large animal with a dark coat trying to hide under the lowest stair. I knew it was some kind of dog; too big to be a coyote or raccoon.”

Can you find Kyra?

Can you find Kyra?

There is Kyra!

There is Kyra!

The Csapos did not want to call Chicago’s Animal Control for help, because they didn’t want the dog taken to the city pound. Joyce called her daughter, Joy, and asked Joy to call a friend who does animal rescue transports for help.

The transporter, Lydia Rypcinski had never done an actual rescue. However, she knew Susan Taney, founder of Lost Dogs Illinois, and called Susan for advice.

Susan referred Lydia to Katie Campbell, an experienced dog rescuer who lives on Chicago’s South Side.

Katie suggested that Andy cover the opening in the door, provide the dog with blankets, food and water, and make sure it was secure until she could get to the funeral home the next day. With Chicago’s biggest November snowstorm in 127 years approaching that night, Katie’s concern was that the dog stay in one place, protected from the elements.

The next afternoon, Katie arrived with hot dogs and her “snappy snare” and was able to secure and bring the dog out of the shed. The dog had a collar and nametag – “Kyra” – with a phone number on the back.

Kyra, a handsome 3-year-old black-and-white pit bull, was bundled into blankets and lifted into Lydia’s car while Katie called the number on the tag.

“It’s their dog!” she shouted as she got off the phone. Kyra’s family had posted the dog’s picture on Lost Dogs Illinois eight days earlier, after Kyra escaped from the back yard of their house two miles north of Meiszner Funeral Home. Katie was able reference the posting to verify that the dog was indeed theirs.

Kyra’s owners, the Ortiz family, were ecstatic to welcome Kyra home.

“The kids were jumping up and down and their other dog knocked [Kyra] right over when I brought her inside,” Katie said. “You could see her family really loves her.”

“I thought I would never see her again,” Sandra Ortiz said. “My family and friends told me to file a missing dog report on Lost Dogs Illinois. Several people called who thought they had found my dog but hadn’t, and I was starting to lose hope. I have three kids. My youngest was asking if Kyra was not going to live with us anymore. I didn’t know what to say.

“When Katie called, we were in tears.”

Welcome Home Kyra!

Welcome Home Kyra!

A trip to the vet revealed that Kyra had dropped from 57 to 33 pounds, that her sugar levels were high, and that she had cold burn rashes on her paws but otherwise was in good health. She was microchipped right away, and the faulty latch on the back gate was fixed to pre-empt future escapes.

A week later, Kyra had regained much of the weight and was happily romping with the Ortiz children and their other dog, a Shih Tzu named Bear.

“Bear was really excited to see her again, he had been getting depressed without her,” Sandra said.

“We’re so grateful to have her back,” Sandra added. “Thanks to everyone who helped bring Kyra home.”

The Chicago Way and Lost Dogs Illinois.  That’s a winning ticket in The City That Works.

Kyra and Sandra Ortiz BEST 11-30-15

Kyra and Sandra – one week later!

Thank you Lydia Rypcinski for sharing Kyra’s story!

Reva is Safe!

 

Reva enjoying her first dinner after being reunited.

Reva enjoying her first dinner after being reunited.

‘Reva is safe! She was brought to her new home on Friday, September 4th. Since getting there, her owner has walked the same route with her daily.

Because Reva came from a feral/skittish lifestyle, she took the opportunity to bolt when a door was opened. Her harness broke in a freak accident and she took off. For the next 8 hours, she was spotted looping the subdivision her house is in and the golf course behind it. Reva knew what way Dan walked her only after 3 short days. Routine is essential with a new dog, especially a timid one. Smart cookie.

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Dan and Denise quickly called the local police station as well as animal control. Flyers and posters went up, neighbors were asked not to chase her, but to call immediately with sightings. Reva came to the front and back of her new home 2 or 3 times. Her bed, fresh water and food were placed behind the house. We really believe not being chased kept her safe and in the area. As nightfall came, there weren’t any sightings of Reva for over 5 hours. A humane trap was set and baited behind the house next to her bed and Dan set watch. And then, an amazing phone call took place: Reva was in someone’s fenced in yard! The homeowners saw her, called Darien PD (which had Dan’s contact info and description of Reva) and Dan was able to pick her up from the house.

Accidents happen. Harnesses and leashes may break when you least expect it. We followed the advice our friends at LDI stress: do not chase and get the word out immediately. Because authorities were contacted, flyers stressing not to chase were posted and the neighbors didn’t disrupt Reva’s loop pattern, she is safe. Never underestimate the intelligence of a dog. Reva was able to retain her walking route only after a few short days, which is critical for a shy dog.

Thank you for the wonderful support, LDI!’

Thank you, Katie Campbell, for sharing Reva’s story!

 

If The Sock Fits…..

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The Klima family of Downers Grove were out of their minds with worry when their 7 lb, 14 year old Toy Poodle went missing on July 8th, 2015.  Sock’s collar had been loose, and he had slipped out of it and escaped with no visible signs of ownership, and with all the scary things out there in this world – strangers, traffic, wildlife; plus cold and rainy weather, how would he ever make his way home to his family?

Information on Sock was posted in the Reporter newspaper,  and on CraigsList, and local veterinarians and shelters were notified; someone then notified the Klimas about Lost Dogs Illinois, so they registered him and printed the flyers generated, which they posted at local businesses.

As the weeks wore on, they assumed the worst, but never gave up hope that their little friend would someday come home to them.  Unbeknownst to them, a Good Samaritan named Tricia was driving home on July 9th and saw a fuzzy thing in the middle of St Charles Road in Glen Ellyn.  Another car had stopped  as well, but the dog came to her, so she scooped him up and started knocking on doors.  No one was home to ID the dog, so she filed a report with the local Police Dept. then brought the little guy to a Lombard veterinarian that she knew held found dogs.  Where had this sweet little old man come from?

After 10 days at the vet’s office; having been scanned for a chip (and then receiving one, as well as vaccinations, when none was found), and no one claiming him, Tricia brought him home, as she did not want this senior boy going to a shelter.  She named him ‘Waffles’, had him groomed and  bought him dishes, a collar & leash, and a bed and began making him part of her family, which  already included 2 dogs,  a cat and a couple of kids.

‘Waffles’ did well with Tricia’s family for several weeks – got along with the dogs, learned to use the doggy doors; snuggled with her during the day when he could, and slept next to her at night. She even went on vacation for a week and left ‘Waffles’ with a friend who bonded easily with him as well.  However, ‘Waffles’ did chase the cat, and did not respond well to the children, which worried her, and she kept trying to find his real home. Then a friend suggested she post him on Lost Dogs Illinois.

After completing the registration for the Helping Lost Pets/Lost Dogs Illinois site, Tricia began to look through the Missing Albums to see if she could find a dog that looked like ‘Waffles’.  Lo and behold!  there was a very similar dog – but he was lost in Downers Grove and she had found the dog in Glen Ellyn, about 7 miles away.  Was it possible this dog could have gotten so far in one day?  She immediately contacted the Klimas and then FaceTimed with them so they could make sure ‘Waffles’ was really their Sock!   They arranged a meeting and oh, the joy when Waffles/Sock saw his family – Tricia told us he went crazy and ran to his owners as fast as his little legs could carry him!  Everyone involved smiled the widest smiles they could; both owners and finder told us it was one of the happiest, most fulfilling moments in their lives.  After 6 weeks, Sock was finally home!

We will never know the full story of how Sock traveled such a distance from his home, but we tell this story not only to commend all the Good Samaritans out there who think not all homeless dogs are strays when they see a dog on the street, but to stress the importance of micro-chipping your pets, and keeping those chips updated with current contact information.  We also urge you to ask your vets to link up with Helping Lost Pets so that when lost dogs are brought in to their clinics, microchipped or not, this nationwide database of lost pets can be searched so Happy Endings like this can occur so much sooner.

 

 

 

 

Champ – Lessons Learned.

On April 30, I pulled up to a house, and I saw a proud new father in his driveway holding his son. I exited my vehicle and introduced myself. A few hours before, I had seen a post on Facebook about a local family dog, Champ, that was missing. As soon as I could, I contacted the owner, Jeff, to learn more about his dog. He told me Champ had gone missing the night before. He was a large, brindle 10 year old male Lab/Boxer mix, with a white chest, red collar, and friendly disposition. I thought to myself, friendly, big, older dog; this should be easy. Unfortunately, I was wrong.

As Jeff held his son, he explained what had happened the night before: he was letting the dogs out before heading to bed. Champ and his brother, Jager, went out. Jeff let the dogs back in, or so he thought. He locked up the house and went to bed. In the morning, he discovered Champ was not in the house, and not outside. Champ was gone!

Champ’s information was immediately put up on the Lost Dogs Illinois Facebook page and other area pages. Soon, Jeff and his wife got the first call of many from people seeing Champ over the next 8 days.   The first few calls had Champ heading 
toward a nearby golf course. Jeff and Jess headed 
out to look, then spent the day driving around 
passing out fliers and talking to people in the 
neighborhood. Many were now on alert and knew
to call them if he was spotted. That evening, with a heavy heart, Jeff and Jess went home without finding Champ.

The following day, I made more fliers, hoping to get them hung. I also put a flier on the back window of my car and encouraged others to do the same. I was getting stopped multiple times by people asking questions and telling me they were watching out for Champ. Jeff and Jess continued to get calls seeing Champ in the area of the golf course and by the red barn. As more people shared the posts of Champ missing, there were more cars in the area. That meant there were more eyes to spot him, but also more cars that could hit him, and people to chase him away. Another full day came and went without Champ home.Untitled

 

Champ was spotted but managed to slip into clever hiding places each time. I received a message around 10:15pm that night that Champ was now spotted a couple miles down at a park. He was just an arm’s length away from someone, but when they said Champ’s name, the dog turned and ran into the darkness of the park. Someone posted the sighting online and people arrived at the park using flashlights. A police officer even used his spotlight to help. However, if Champ was there, he was not going to come out with that number of people searching.  Jeff took the shirt off his back,and put it and some treats under a play area he hoped Champ would go to for rest.

On Saturday morning  Jeff woke early to check on his shirt and treats. No Champ, no change. Thinking that it was the weekend and that Champ would be ready to mingle, Jeff was sure he would go up to someone and would be home that evening. Families would be out in yards. Fathers would be barbecuing dinner, and the smells would lure Champ out of hiding! Jess also created the Find Champ Facebook page. Champ had 771 followers very quickly. The day passed and there were just 2 calls and still no Champ. Jeff and Jess put out another blanket and treats near the cornfields where they thought he may be.

Seeing Jeff and Jess looking a little defeated, I reached out to Susan from Lost Dogs Illinois. She knew Champ was missing, but I needed to fill her in on what we had been doing and ask for suggestions for next steps. She mentioned that Champ may not be seen for the same reason we thought he would be. Because it’s the weekend and a lot of people would be out, he would hide. I also inquired about using a tracking dog, and she said they do not recommend tracking dogs. They do not find dogs. She did suggest a feeding station and trail camera. She also offered, if needed, a large humane trap. After talking with Susan, I shared her suggestions with Jeff and Jess.  They felt that setting up a humane trap would not be an option as Champ was a Houdini, and there was no way he would be kept in a trap if he went in. We set up a feeding station where  he had been spotted on several different days which lead right to an area we would eventually call “Tick Field.”

The next morning we went to the feeding station hoping we would walk up and find Champ resting on his blanket with a full belly of chicken and bacon. My heart sank. The bowl was untouched. I went home and printed a map marking all the sighting locations. I was trying to see if there was any pattern to his movements. For a few days it seemed he was on the golf course during the day and park at night. If this was true, where was he hiding?

Monday was uncomfortable. Silence is usually a blessing, but this time we would have welcomed the phone ringing and it wasn’t. No one was calling – was Champ ok?

Tuesday morning was an eventful one. Jeff and Jess started receiving calls at 6am. Champ was spotted walking down a road. Then, he was on a path behind an elementary school. This was the closest Champ had gotten to home. We wondered with the rain from the night before, were all the scents being picked up and he was on his way home? Again, people were posting all over social media and the area had people everywhere. Champ once again outsmarted everyone and slipped by. At this point, Jeff and I were thinking how crazy it is that Champ has been seen by everyone else but us. We had spent every free minute looking for him and hanging fliers and talking to people, and Champ never showed himself to us.  I asked for help to post fliers in this new area. I was going up and down the streets placing Champ’s information by the mailbox flags. I knew we could not place anything inside a mailbox.  I noticed a mail truck coming our way and was happy to see it. In recent days I had been able give other mail carriers a flier that was happily received with well wishes for finding Champ. This was not the case with this time. She ignored my 2 attempts to get her attention and then turned her truck around and started up the other side of the street where I had just been and watched her as she went up to the mailboxes and took the fliers. Shocked, I looked at the other volunteer and said, “She is taking the fliers!” He was just as stunned. He caught up to her truck and asked her why she was taking them since they were about a lost dog. She snapped at him something about postage and drove off. I called the post office to find out that no one is allowed to put anything inside or on a mailbox.!

Wednesday went by without a single call.  Jeff and I began to walk behind the houses into “Tick Field.” We were playing detective, not allowing Champ to be steps ahead of us anymore. This is when Jeff mentioned Champ also ‘army crawls’. I am out here looking for a brindle coated dog that would blend into everything that also army crawled!  We found some fresh dog poop and a toy that had the stuffing newly pulled out (this is something Champ would do).  As we walked, Jeff was pulling ticks off of himself. Jess showed up and had Jager, Champ’s dog buddy, with her. He seemed to walk a path they felt was where Champ walked. When we exhausted our “research” of this area we headed to the car. While walking back to the car, Jess about stepped on a snake.  Thankfully she saw it before, stepped back and we concluded it was just a garter snake.  WHEW!

Thursday was another quiet day with no calls. I had just finished checking the feeding station when Jess called. It was about 8:15pm, and she had just received a call from a couple of girls who were out on their bikes and saw Champ. He was over by the gates by the beach. This was about 2 miles from the last place he was seen on Tuesday. I was close to the street so I headed over. We had not had any calls since Tuesday morning, and there was still a constant flow of cars and people looking – Champ had moved somewhere quieter.  I heard a ruckus in a yard when I pulled into the gates where he was said to have headed. It was really dark by this time, and it made it very difficult to see. I also knew I could not say his name without him running, so I was praying for backup, just in case. That’s when Jeff pulled up. We canvassed the street and yards, not expecting too much. We went down to the gate where he was first spotted before the girls called his name and he ran. There, we met another woman who saw him too. She said he was standing, sniffing around. He was there long enough for her to pull out her phone and bring up his picture, she was 100% sure, it was Champ. The concern about cars was even greater now. As we  stood there, cars sped by. We couldn’t afford other people looking for him to add to the traffic on the roads. Even worse, Champ could run into the road!

Thankfully, we moved fast. One woman had already posted the sighting on FB, but we were able to delete it before anyone saw it. I talked to Jeff, asking him to keep this quiet, just between a small group of us for Champs safety. Let’s let him get comfortable, even if it took another day or two. We called it a night shortly after to allow Champ the space to find a place to rest and be safe for the night.

Friday morning, both Jeff and I did a quick drive around before work. Neither of us saw anything, which was okay though. For the first time I actually felt that Champ was safe.  SUDDENLY, at 2:42pm, I received a text.  This is what I saw: “Look who I have!”  I couldn’t believe my eyes! I was incredibly happy for Jeff and Jess. Champ looked good. Now, what was the story?

Champ

Well, after the Tuesday morning sightings, it seems that Champ headed down toward the beach through the gates. He took up residence under a deck. A  gentleman  had spotted him, but was unaware that Champ had been missing for all these days. While we were on call for sightings, a relationship was building between Champ and this man. In the morning he would give Champ pancakes, and for lunch he would have some chicken. This afternoon, Champ came out for a little love and his new friend was able to get the phone number off Champs tags and call Jeff. As you can imagine, with this news Jeff rushed over to the house. Champ was under the deck. There was only one way in and one way out. Jeff walked to the back and he whistled “his whistle” and Champ came out like a flash to greet his dad. After a few minutes of hugs, kisses, and tears, Jeff thanked the man and headed home with Champ. I was able to stop by their house within the next hour. I was so happy to meet this big boy that led us on an expedition that lasted for 8 days!

Champ’s travels took him to the golf course, through corn fields, by the red barn, the park, on bike paths, digging in backyards, trotting under windows, and traipsing through the woods.  He came through it all with an abundance of ticks and only a small cut on his paw. Other than that, he was tired and a little clingy, but Jeff was just fine with that as long as Champ was home.

Champ3

Here are some of the important things I learned while searching for Champ:

  •  I think the most important thing I learned was that having a ‘core’ group is crucial.
  •  Too many people responding to a sighting pushes a dog further away.
  •  Dogs get to a point when running scared where they won’t answer, no matter how        friendly they are or who is calling them
  •   Keeping some information quiet is best for the safety of the dog.
  •  Set aside your emotions and think of the dogs safety first .

Finally, I was reminded that we live in such a wonderful community. I have 
 seen again how one dog can bring people together, and now, I have 2 new amazing people in my life ‐ Jeff and Jess, and, of course, Champ and his dog buddies at home. That little boy Jeff was holding when I first stopped over is in for an exciting story when he grows up!

Sidenote:  We want to thank Kerry, Jess and Jeff for sharing their story about Champ. LDI’s mission is to empower our dog loving communities with resources, tools and tips on how to find lost dogs.  The more knowledge that is disseminated;  the more dogs will be returned home safely.

Miracles and happy endings do exist!!!

Coqueta

Coqueta was reunited with her family the next day after her mandatory three day stray hold at Chicago Animal Care and Control (CACC).

Miracles and happy endings do exist!!! Thanks to the guidance and help from the two animal welfare organizations, Red Door Shelter and New Leash on Life; Coqueta’s Good Samaritan was able to pull Coqueta from CACC and foster her. A team of volunteers distributed fliers and in one night she was reunited when her owners saw one of the posted fliers.

One of Lost Dogs Illinois’s (LDI) concerns with reducing the stray hold from five days to three days was owners would not have time to find their lost dogs. Coqueta’s story verifies this. Many owners who are looking for their dogs do not find them within three days. More time is needed.

A LDI shout out to this special Good Sam who went the extra mile to find Coqueta’s family! Coqueta didn’t need a new home. She just needed to go back home.